Improving Wellbeing, Mental Health & Resilience in Education

Creating safe & healthy environments for student success


Opening remarks from the Chair
Colin Donald, Professional Expert, Future Learning Solutions - The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership
The size of the problem – mental health and wellbeing challenges in education
  • You are not alone – how prevalent are mental health issues amongst students & staff in NZ schools, universities and other education facilities?
    • What are the key patterns and factors that are driving the rise in prevalence of mental health issues in NZ?
    • The general thinking is that kids are more stressed and under more pressure today than in previous generations – does the research bear out?
  • Student health & safety
  • Health & resilience amongst staff
Dr Katie Fitzpatrick, Associate Professor of Health and Physical Education & Head of School of Curriculum and Pedagogy, The University of Auckland - Faculty of Education
Exploring evidence-based wellbeing programmes that act as protectors of student mental health & resilience
  • What are your options with regards wellbeing/hauora programmes?
  • Rightsizing your programme to your abilities & resources
  • Developing and delivering a wellbeing curriculum
  • Understanding the connections required between your efforts and those of whanau, community and other organisations and agencies
  • Setting up boundaries, responsibilities and clearly communicating these to staff, students and whanau
Dr. Pauline Dickinson, School Counsellor, Coromandel Area School
Morning break
What impact is technology having on the development of interpersonal skills and loosening of social connections?

​Research is emerging that device/technology overuse driven by social media and gaming is starting to have significant and detrimental effects on the crucial development of interpersonal skills. The impact is being felt as social connectedness is diminished and the ability to resiliently interact with others is eroded.

  • Evaluating lessons from the research
  • What’s happening to our kids’ interpersonal skills?
    • Watching for warning signs such as inability to hold eye contact
  • What happens as social and interpersonal connection is lost?
  • Overuse and unhappiness
  • The happiness and resilience connection
Dr. Emma Woodward, Director of Psychological Services, The Child Psychology Service
Table talks: Sharing of wellbeing programme experience
A shared vision - positive, proactive and preventative support
  • The wellbeing conversation
  • Forming a community of wellbeing
  • Fostering strong links with stakeholders and providers
  • Collaborative appreciative inquiry and a shared vision
  • An integrated holistic and dynamic ecological approach
  • Timely care, assistance and tiers of support
  • Initiatives to reach students and our school communities
  • Wellbeing now and in the future
Roseanne Gibson, Cluster 8 Manager – Ngā Manu Āwhina, RTLB Service
Student mental health - identifying and acting on red flags
  • Equipping yourself and your team with the skills necessary to successfully identify warning signs of common mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety or suicidality
  • How to differentiate ‘normal’ stress in students, from problematic anxiety
  • Challenging conversations - how to discuss mental health concerns with students and whanau
  • Resources and further support – getting the right help at the right time
Dr. Melanie Woodfield, Clinical Psychologist & Health Research Council Foxley Fellow
Lunch break
Mindfulness in schools
  • Positive education - creating upward spirals
  • Introducing mindfulness into your philosophy and practice
  • Our experience with mindfulness programmes 
Robin Kirkham, Principal, Point View School
Fostering student engagement in their own wellbeing

A significant part of success is “taking them on the journey”, whether that is an individual or the whole student/teacher body. Learn tools to bring students along with you.

  • The effectiveness of participation and self-determination
  • Integrating student voice into your wellbeing programme
  • What’s appropriate and what’s not?
  • Finding champions from all your stakeholders
  • Developing student wellbeing leaders
Grant McKibbin, Head of Positive Education, King’s College
Managing physical bullying incidents, violence & trauma

Drawing on NZ workplace research, this session will focus on understanding the dynamics and impact of workplace bullying. Evidence suggests that the education sector may have an elevated risk for workplace bullying and risk factors that may account for this are discussed. General principles for managing instance of workplace bullying will be discussed alongside their potential applicability to ‘school yard’ bullying. The session concludes with suggestions for promoting healthy work.

  • Workplace Bullying – definition, prevalence, behaviours, individual and organisational outcomes.
  • Risk factors and employer obligations to manage workplace bullying, WorkSafe NZ guidelines
  • General principles for managing workplace bullying
  • Applicability to managing instances of school yard bullying.
  • Promoting healthy workplaces.
Assoc. Prof. Bevan Catley, Associate Head of the School of Management (Auckland), Massey University
Afternoon break
Ensuring you have strategies & policies that are LGBQI inclusive
  • Examining your environment, facilities and policies for discriminatory barriers to wellness amongst LGBQI students
    • Beyond bathrooms and dress codes
  • Youth have significantly greater awareness – avoid finding yourself “managed up” by your student body
  • Bringing inclusivity to the centre of all that you do, say and teach
Victoria Trow, Support Manager, RainbowYOUTH
Keynote Address: Voices of Hope – Finding your way though the mist
  • Sharing personal insights and experiences of survival
  • Use of new media to spread a message and build a community of support
  • Suggestions on how to make authentic connections to those struggling with mental health issues
Voices of Hope
Summary remarks from the Chair and Networking Drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Colin Donald, Professional Expert, Future Learning Solutions - The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership
Working with students with complex and significant challenges

Some of the most significant challenges are those faced by students presenting with complex learning disadvantages, poor learning absorption, ADHD and spectrum-related learning or behavioural challenges.

  • Two professional actors will give participants an inside view of living with sensory, cognitive and behavioural differences.
  • Recognising Negative World View and deconstructing Conflict Cycles
  • Understanding the power of language (verbal and nonverbal) for those with sensory processing differences
  • Strategies to improve connection and self-esteem to build a foundation for wellness.
Sue Haldane, Creative Director, Mind Over Manner
Return to school - the right steps to re-integrate students with previous mental health issues with success
Richard Winder, Principal, Northern Health School
Morning break
Successfully integrating international students into school & NZ culture
  • Some surprising stresses and challenges that international students experience
  • Pastoral care of international students
  • Eliciting the help of host families
  • Spotting & reacting where the host family 
Enda McKenna, Director of International Students, Botany Downs Secondary College
Health, wellbeing & pastoral care in a boarding or residency environment

The boarding or residency environment brings greater responsibilities and the school or university’s role (along with the roles of the staff) change. Discover how you can create a healthy student environment which fosters happiness, productivity and flags problems early.

Jacob De Berry, Housemaster - Wilton House, Dilworth School
Lunch break
Understanding your legal obligations (and rights) in the face of difficult mental health issues
  • An outline of your legal obligations and responsibilities
    • Responsibility to report for safety
    • Responsibility to report illegality
    • Walking the intersection of privacy and safety
    • Keeping students safe
    • Keeping staff safe
  • Proactively working with agencies
Rachael Judge, Senior Solicitor, Simpson Grierson
Substance abuse and mental health: awareness and strategies

Life Education Trust and Life Education Auckland Central explore the methods and ways that they deliver their world famous in New Zealand education programmes on substance abuse and mental health.

  • Inquiry based delivery methods that target the health needs of students
  • Tailoring the message to ensure reception and relevance with each group
  • The importance of critical thinking and informed decision making
Jo Mortimer, Programme and Development Manager, Life Education Trust
Nicole Fonua, Educator, Life Education Auckland Central
Afternoon break
Feeling good and functioning well - the science of wellbeing
  • The many stresses of modern society: Work overload, administration, housing cost pressures, raising children etc
  • Understanding vulnerability as the foundation for flourishing
  • Finding a healthy balance between emotional and psychological wellbeing
  • Leading from a position of health & wellness – the importance of a healthy leader/principal and the positive impact on staff
Grant Rix, Training and Programmes Director, Mindfulness Education Group
Self-care strategies for staff, teachers and principals
  • How to keep yourself and your well
  • The practice of resilience
  • Evidence-based techniques including positive psychology, mindfulness and others
  • Practical tools to enable resilience for yourself and your colleagues
Sandy Hall, Associate, HumanKind
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference
    Copyright © 2019 Conferenz Ltd.