Tamworth High proved it is never too late to ask someone R U OK, after hosting a fair on Tuesday that aimed to “develop social conscience and awareness both individually and as a school.”
While the official day was held last week, the high school postponed their event due to year 11 exams, an idea that paid dividends as the school had full access to a huge range of local services.
In all 16 organisations were represented including Batyr, Headspace, Tamworth Family Support Service, Joblink Plus, TAMS, Healthwise, and Centacare, while students also set up their own activities and stalls.
Deputy Principal Lyn Thomas rotated every year of the school through their fair over the day, and said there was a lot more to the day then just looking at the data surrounding youth mental health and suicide.
“We weren’t just looking at statistics but looking at ways of actually changing the culture, and actually combating those rates and that data,” she said.
“We want the students and the school to be pro-active about wellbeing and mental health, become aware of how other people feel and know that if they ever need or want help there are many avenues available to them.”
At both recess and lunch a flash mob of over 70 dancers, including teachers broke out to the Vanessa Amorosi song Absolutely Everybody.
Teacher Breanna McFadyen said the idea got a great response from both students and staff.
“The song is uplifting and inclusive, which is the message we wanted to communicate,” she said.
“It was also easy to put a simple dance to that everyone could learn – dance is also very good for mental health because it releases endorphins.
“The whole day is also just fun, whatever is happening in the student’s lives gets put on pause, and they are being active and happy which is great.”
The entire day was planned and executed by the school’s new look Alternative Curriculum Program (ACP), and was the first “real problem solving activity” that the year nine class has taken on.
The ACP class is aimed at students that were “losing interest in school”, and looks at alternate ways to teach.
“They researched all the data, brainstormed ideas and planned the day,” Ms Thomas said.
“It was a great time based learning activity, and they did a great job.
“Hopefully we can have the R U OK Fare every year.”
Now in its tenth year the R U OK campaign “has become a national movement aimed at encouraging friends, families, loved ones and workmates to ask the question of anyone they are worried about, in a genuine and meaningful way”, according to campaign director Katherine Newton.
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