Health and Wellbeing

Schools are complex and busy places charged with the responsibility of teaching an increasingly complex and overcrowded curriculum to a diverse range of students. This means that ‘softer’ skills such as relationship development, wellbeing pedagogy, and socio-emotional regulation tend to occur reactively, if at all. Or, they are relegated to add-on programs rather than deeply embedded in the pedagogy of the school.

Health and Wellbeing is a key focus area because we know that school connectedness, positive school cultures and teacher-student relationships are key protective factors. However, schools are also places where young people experience bullying and peer/teacher conflict. Mental health problems are of increasing concern for school communities with impacts for students, teachers, and principals. Student and staff voices are vital to understanding and improving wellbeing at school.

Researchers in C4IE’s Health and Wellbeing Program investigate the many varied components that contribute to positive school environments, including:

  • Children’s rights, student voice, participation and representation
  • Intersection between digital technologies, student safety and wellbeing, including cyberbullying, social media, mobile phones in schools
  • Connectedness between students, teachers, school, community and culture
  • Safety, protection and risk at school including bullying, restraint, seclusion, school violence, restorative and restrictive practices, classroom management, school climate, absenteeism, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide
  • Programs and interventions including; School wellbeing and mental health initiatives, Positive Behaviour Intervention Supports, resilience programs, and trauma-informed practices
  • Teachers’ emotional management, burnout and wellbeing

Current projects

Recent publications

Self-reported mental health of children known to child protection services

O'Hare, Kirstie, Watkeys, Oliver, Whitten, Tyson, Dean, Kimberlie, Laurens, Kristin R, Harris, Felicity, Carr, Vaughan J, Green, Melissa J. (2022) Cumulative environmental risk in early life is associated with mental disorders in childhood Psychological Medicine.

Comparing the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Secondary School Students at Mainstream Schools, Alternative (Flexi) Schools and Unemployed School-Aged Youth

Wright, Nicole, Campbell, Marilyn, Sia, Surendra Kumar, Crane, Lauren S., Jain, Ajay K., Bano, Shabana (2022) Comparing the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Secondary School Students at Mainstream Schools, Alternative (Flexi) Schools and Unemployed School-Aged Youth Understanding Psychology in the Context of Relationship, Community, Workplace and Culture, pp.107-119.

School-Based Mental Health Promotion and Early Intervention Programs in New South Wales, Australia: Mapping Practice to Policy and Evidence

Laurens, Kristin R., Graham, Linda J., Dix, Katherine L., Harris, Felicity, Tzoumakis, Stacy, Williams, Kate E., Schofield, Jill M., Prendergast, Traci, Waddy, Neale, Taiwo, Mary, et al. (2022) School-Based Mental Health Promotion and Early Intervention Programs in New South Wales, Australia: Mapping Practice to Policy and Evidence School Mental Health, 14 (3), pp.582-597.
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School-based education to address pornography’s influence on young people: A proposed practice framework

Crabbe, Maree, Flood, Michael (2021) School-based education to address pornography’s influence on young people: A proposed practice framework American Journal of Sexuality Education.
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Children, classrooms and challenging behaviour: do the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few?

Gillett-Swan, Jenna, Lundy, Laura (2021) Children, classrooms and challenging behaviour: do the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few? Oxford Review of Education.

Facilitators and barriers to the implementation of motivational interviewing for bullying perpetration in school settings

Pennell, Donna, Campbell, Marilyn, Tangen, Donna, Runions, Kevin, Brooks, Juliet, Cross, Donna (2020) Facilitators and barriers to the implementation of motivational interviewing for bullying perpetration in school settings Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 61 (1), pp.143-150.
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Voice and Wellbeing Program Co-Leaders