HEADSTRONG strengthens the four components of the school mental health curriculum in the following ways:
Component 1: Develop students’ confidence and competence to act in support of mental health and wellbeing.
Knowledge is power. HEADSTRONG helps teachers and students understand mental health in all its dimensions. It uses unique learning tools to break down the nuances and intricacies of mental health issueS and conditions by providing information in a way that is relatable and understandable. With knowledge that goes beyond mere familiarity with the name of conditions, teachers and students become fully competent and confident to discuss how to optimize and maintain good mental health.
Component 2: Develops students’ self-awareness about the attitudes, values and beliefs that underpin health, personal lifestyle behaviours and choices.
HEADSTRONG helps develop practical rather than theoretical understanding of mental health. While the curriculum takes a broad strokes approach that provides general information, HEADSTRONG is designed to help students look inward, using the information in the curriculum to identify and understand how the behaviours, attitudes and values they hold or come across each day affects their mental health and those of others.
Component 3: Develop students’ capacity to empathise with others through a greater understanding of different life experiences, motives and feelings of other individuals and groups.
Stigma is a major challenge facing those who struggle with mental health issues. HEADSTRONG advances this element of the curriculum through a strong focus on reducing stigma. By promoting the message that “It’s OK not to feel OK, and It’s absolutely OK to ask for help”, HEADSTRONG advances the curriculum goal of empathy rather than stigma, and breaks down the shame associated with mental ill health. This sets students free to be open about their struggles and also to understand the struggles of friends or classmates.
Component 4: Examine the factors which impact on mental health and wellbeing and develop young people’s ability to act on behalf of personal and group health and wellbeing.
Implementation of the HEADSTRONG Programme into a school