Boost Student Wellbeing: Tips for Schools to Support Mental Health

Supporting students' mental health requires proactive measures like SEL, creative activities, diverse sports, and mental health workshops. Teacher training, positive school experiences, and support systems are essential to improve student wellbeing.

June 7, 2024


When we speak with teachers and school leaders, we often hear the same thing: you see girls struggling with their mental health and you want to support them. Yet, you don’t always know how.

A blog post is never going to be enough to solve the complex issue of teenage mental health. But, we’ve got some practical tips that will help your school get started.

We’ll look at how to support a young person with mental health issues and effectively promote wellbeing in schools, along with ways to support teachers.

Mental Health In Australia’s Schools

In a 2023 study, 84% of Australian school teachers felt that depression, anxiety and mental health were some of the biggest issues affecting children and young people.

You’re not making it up.

In the last 12 months alone, 45.5% of girls and women aged 16 to 24 have experienced a mental health disorder, according to government data. One in four young women have self-harmed.

How To Support Students With Their Mental Health

As teachers and school leaders, you do far more than just teach maths or science. You’re a stable presence in your students’ lives. You’re adults they can trust. And, you can help students manage their mental health.

1. Be Proactive About Improving Students’ Mental Health

Supporting young people with mental health struggles and helping them develop emotional resilience starts long before they receive a diagnosis or start exhibiting symptoms. It begins with making mental health a priority.

Nurturing mental health in schools can look like:

  • Social and emotional learning (SEL): SEL’s five pillars of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making can help students tune in to their emotional state, manage negative emotions and nurture healthy relationships. Every day, we see how these abilities support girls’ mental health.
  • Creative self-expression: Whether students are drawing, journaling or writing poems, creativity is key to better mental health. It allows them to express their emotions and feelings in a safe way, instead of repressing them.
  • Sports programs: We all know that playing sports can release endorphins, boost students’ self-esteem, give them goals to work towards and help them make friends. These are all important for mental health. But, not every student will like rugby or netball. Try to offer a diverse range of sports, from gymnastics to swimming.
  • Mental health and wellbeing workshops: Workshops for students can help young people understand their mental health, build good mental health habits and discuss challenging topics that they might be too shy to ask teachers or parents about.

2. Train Your Teachers

Asking your teachers to tackle young people’s mental health without the right support and training is an unfair ask

A 2024 study shows us something that your school likely already knows: Australian teachers are often the first to respond when young people suffer from poor mental health.

Tomorrow Woman’s education programs don’t just give girls the resources they need to improve their mental wellbeing, they also support teachers on how to promote mental wellbeing.

Our teacher training provides resources for understanding what girls experience in their everyday lives and teaches how to discuss sensitive topics with students.

To further equip your school community, you could also host a training session for parents, guardians and carers. Workshops for parents ensure your students are supported both at school and at home.

3. Don’t Let School Become A Mental Health Catalyst

We know that school can be either a source of support or stress for young people, and especially for young people with poor mental health. We’re seeing rising numbers of anxiety-based school avoidance or school refusal, while almost half of young Australians report that study stress has a “major impact” on their mental health and wellbeing.

Making school a positive experience is key to improving wellbeing in schools. Your school should take an active role in creating strong teacher-student relationships, addressing bullying, and nurturing a healthy attitude towards exams and marks.

4. Spot Students That Need Support

The sooner students can access mental health support, the better. Teachers often notice that a young person is struggling before their parents. But, if we want to avoid kids slipping through the gaps, we need to make sure teachers have the right resources.

This includes training teachers on the common first signs of poor mental health, abuse and neurodiversity. Once they know what they’re looking for, they’ll be better prepared to act. Mental Health First Aid Training is something all our facilitators complete and is a great start for teachers too.

Make sure there’s a system for reporting and investigating these warning signs. Support your teachers by helping them know when to escalate a situation — and who they should escalate it to.

5. Support Children With Mental Health Issues

When a young person has been diagnosed with mental health struggles, they have a better chance of getting the help they need. But this support won’t just come from doctors, mental health professionals and family members. It also needs to come from schoolteachers.

Your school can help students with mental health issues by making sure their needs are understood and accommodated. School administration should work with the family and, if relevant, the NDIS on this. Those needs must also be clearly communicated to teachers, who should demonstrate flexibility in the classroom.

Giving Teachers And Students The Tools To Manage Mental Health

There’s no easy fix for mental health crises in schools. But there’s one thing that we firmly believe: the first step is having conversations with teenagers about what they are struggling with, and creating a safe space for them to share.

Our workshops give teachers and students a way to talk about these issues. And they give girls a chance to decide the stories they want to tell themselves and the future they want to build.

Find out more about our workshops.

More Articles

Back to Articles

Empower Your Students: A Practical Guide To Building Wellbeing and Resilience

Resilience and student wellbeing programs are the keys to success, in and outside of the classroom. When we nurture student resilience and wellbeing, we see girls become confident, capable and happy.


Helping Your Students Develop Emotional Resilience & Better Mental Health

The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing study reveals that almost half of young women aged 16-24 have dealt with mental health issues in the past year.


Empowering Girls To Boldly Speak Up: Building Confidence and Leadership In Schools

Boosting girls' self-confidence and growing their leadership skills at school can change their futures.


be the first to know!

Subscribe now for insights, updates and exclusive news on our transformative workshops.

By submitting this form you consent to Tomorrow Woman contacting you in the future. We respect your privacy and will keep your data safe.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again or contact us directly