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Kids need back-to-school mental health support

  • School will look very different for students returning on Monday
  • Students need support to adjust
  • Liberals should adopt Labor’s mental health in schools policy

Labor is again urging the Liberals to adopt its policy of employing mental health workers in every school to help students transition back to classroom-based learning.

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie says many students will find the adjustment challenging and deserve full support to help them through it.

“After a difficult two months for parents, students, teachers and other school staff, it will come as a relief to many to see our schools start to return to normal,” Mr Willie said.

“But we mustn’t forget the toll this has taken on students. School will look very different for those returning on Monday and many will have struggled to complete their schoolwork from home without their normal peer support or face-to-face engagement with teachers.

“With the additional anxiety and worry about COVID-19, these students will need extra support to help them transition back to classroom-based learning.

“The mental health of our children must be a top priority and I again urge the Liberals to adopt Labor’s policy of employing mental health workers in every Tasmanian school.

“A Federal Government-commissioned report on learning from home during the COVID-19 emergency noted the need for a targeted strategy of physical re-engagement at school to mitigate the negative impacts on learning.

“It recognised two key areas of focus – to diagnose and remediate any learning loss and to pay due attention to student’s health and wellbeing, particularly their mental health, during the readjustment phase.

“Before this crisis, there were already concerns around mental health support for young people, with early intervention known to be vital in protecting a young person’s mental health.

“Labor’s $40 million Mental Health Workers in Schools program would employ a range of mental health professionals including social workers, youth workers and psychologists.

“With the right support mechanisms in place, our young people will have the tools to deal with the many challenges they are facing. I again urge the Premier to put students’ interests first and adopt Labor’s policy to help them through this transition.

“I wish all the students, parents, teachers and other school staff all the best as they step back into a more normal school schedule.”

Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Education Minister