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23 November 2021

‘Look after yourselves – and one another’

Students preparing to tackle the challenges of Year 12 have been urged to look…

Students preparing to tackle the challenges of Year 12 have been urged to look after their mental and physical health throughout their final year at Blackfriars.

The class of 2022 has attended a wellbeing session aimed at identifying some of the stresses they may face next year – and learning how best to deal with them.

Blackfriars psychologist Carlo Tropiano said it was important the boys looked after themselves – and one another – during Year 12.

“I used to work in aged care. The big thing for older people is they don’t have anyone around. The biggest thing for mental health is isolation and loneliness. So, you need to make those connections,” Mr Tropiano told the boys.

The class of 2022 at this week’s wellbeing session.

The boys identified a number of stresses they may face next year, key among them the pressure to achieve a good ATAR. Other potential stresses were:

They also identified warning signs that they, or their mates, may not be coping, including:

One student said while mental health was front of mind during events such as RU OK? Day, it was imperative the boys consistently looked out for one another.

“You shouldn’t have to wait for days like RU OK? Day to check in on your mates. You should be doing it more frequently,” he said.

Teacher Kristie Abbott said the students needed to know when to ask for help.

“There have been a couple of situations, particularly later in the year, when I’ve been to a student and said, ‘look, I’ve noticed … you’re withdrawn or not working to the best of your ability’, or they’ve admitted to me that they can’t concentrate,” she said.

“So, if someone approaches you to do a check-in because they’ve noticed something about you, just be honest about it, be open to it, because sometimes it’s hard to admit something is wrong.”

Denifle/Jarrett Head of House Anthea Osborne agreed that communication was key.

“Often, if we don’t communicate when we’re concerned or we’re struggling to meet expectations, or to meet deadlines, they tend all build up and at some point, we need to deal with it,” Mrs Osborne said.

“As your Heads of House, we’re your biggest advocates at trying to assist you to liaise with your teachers in order to be able to make a plan to meet any of those deadlines that you’re struggling with.

“So, the quicker you communicate with us, or the more you’re open to communicating with us if you’re struggling, things are getting out of control, you’ve missed a couple of deadlines … coming to us will actually assist you. I think that’s a really important thing to remember.”