Here at South Oakleigh College, the wellbeing of our students is a priority and all staff play a critical role in ensuring our students are safe and their needs are addressed. Students can access support specifically from the members of our amazing Wellbeing Team who ensure students’ overall wellbeing is on track both academically, socially and emotionally. In addition to the Wellbeing Team, support is also available from our Directors of Students and Heads of Houses. 

Our Team

Director of Students: Wellbeing
Emily Bekkerus: Student Wellbeing Support
School Nurse | Penny Hsiao

Tips for Dealing with Change 

The transition to a new school year usually involves a period of rapid change. It is often a time of celebration and excitement, but it can also be worrying and stressful as students and families adapt to new expectations. There’s also been lots of change due to COVID-19 pandemic, which can be stressful or scary to deal with. Here are some things you can do to make coping a bit easier:

1. Think things through and ask, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’

We’re often scared of change because we’re afraid of the unknown. And a good way to deal with the unknown is to think things through carefully. Imagine all of the different possible outcomes, and then decide what would be your best- and worst-case scenarios. Write them down, if it helps. Another great strategy is to think about the last time you were faced with a big change and got through it okay. Sometimes it’s not as bad as it seems at first and may just take a little time to get used to.

2. Ask yourself how much you can control

When a big change occurs, it’s important to figure out how much control over the situation you really have. Understanding your role and how much you can change can help you put things in perspective.

3. Accept and reframe

If the unwanted change is beyond your control, try taking a reflective approach. Accepting that there are things beyond your control, and choosing to be comfortable with that fact, is likely to bring greater peace of mind than waging an unwinnable war. View change as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a setback, even if you have to fake it til you make it!

4. Celebrate the positives

Even though it can be a tough ask, focusing on the positives can really help you manage change. While the positive aspects of a situation might not be obvious to begin with, it’s worth seeking them out – no matter how small they might be. For example, if you’ve moved recently, you might be away from your friends, but it’s also a great way to learn how to be more independent. Try to make the best of the situation. You can still call and write to those friends, and plan to visit them!

5. Take action

If the unwanted change is within your control, take an active approach to dealing with it. Try some problem-solving techniques, or set some goals to proactively address any challenges. Focusing on the problem at hand, developing a plan of action, and asking for advice are useful active strategies.

6. Manage your stress

Improving your ability to handle stress will go a long way to helping you deal with change. Try practising mindfulness or meditation, or engaging in other relaxation techniques.

7. Seek support

It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed if the change you’re facing is really big, or there’s too much change happening all at once. This is when it might be best to seek support. Consider asking friends or family for help or emotional support. Even a phone/video call or chatting online can help you feel connected to your loved ones.

Or you can look at some options for getting professional help.

Telephone and online support is a great way to access help for free. Some of these include:

• Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) has 24/7 phone and online support for young people aged 5 to 25.

• Eheadspace has free online and phone support for young people aged 12 to 25.

• Parentline 13 22 89 offers counselling, information and support services for parents and carers.

• Speak to your GP or our school’s Wellbeing Team.

Penny Hsiao | School Nurse

Online Resources to Support Students and Families

Below you will find an array of online resources which are designed to further educate and support students, families and our staff in understanding mental illness and mental health. 

Youth Beyond Blue

Aims to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and associated drug and alcohol problems among young people. The website includes fact sheets on a range of topics from bullying to cannabis. It discusses ways to get help and lists helplines and online support for young people.

Black Dog Institue Logo

The creative way of thinking, talking and teaching about mood disorders and resilience. It is free to download curriculum resource for Health and Physical Education teachers. Building resilience and wellbeing into the curriculum. Headstrong is implemented by the Black Dog Institute.

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Be You

Be You aims to transform Australia’s approach to supporting children and young people’s mental health in early learning services and schools. Aiming to create a positive, inclusive and resilient learning community – a place where everyone can achieve their best possible mental health.

Orygen Logo

A world-leading research and knowledge translation organisation focusing on the mental health of young people. Orygen has a dedicated Skills & Knowledge Division which concentrates on growing the capacity of Australia’s youth mental health workforce with an emphasis on accessible expertise and innovation. 

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Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Provides information about Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course contents, audience and finding a course running in your local area. The YMHFA course teaches adults who work or live with youth how to identify and assist when a young person is developing a mental health problem. 

Headspace Logo

Raising awareness for youth mental health is a vital part of what headspace does. Headspace centres and services operate across Australia, in metro, regional and rural areas, supporting young people and their families to be mentally healthy. Filled with an ample amount of resources and guidance.

ReachOut Logo

ReachOut Professionals provides recommendations and advice for youth support workers, health workers and education professionals on a range of online interventions, tools and resources that can be used to support young people experiencing mental health difficulties and to build young people’s wellbeing and resilience. 

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Q Life

An online anonymous and free LGBTQI+ peer support and referral resource for people wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings and relationships. QLife services include both telephone and webchat support, delivered by trained LGBTQI+ community members across the country, catered to LGBTQI+ individuals, their friends and families. 

In Touch Logo

Specialist Family Violence Service that works with women from migrant and refugee backgrounds, their families and communities, providing case management and training. Providing many services including; legal services, outreach in courts and other community settings, working with perpetrators and many more services available on this online resource.

With Respect Logo

With/Respect is a family violence and intimate partner violence service supporting LGBTIQ+ communities and their families. They can respond to both the person or people impacted by violence and the person or people using violence. Providing resources tips and advice for LGBTIQ+ people on having and maintaining healthy relationships.

Additional Resources:

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The Alannah and Madeline Foundation

A national charity protecting children from violence and its devastating effects. The website has resources and programs available to support parents, carers and schools to keep children safe.

Bullying No Way Logo
Bullying No Way!
Provides information about bullying and strategies on how teachers and parents can work together to tackle the issue. Supporting school communities with resources and activities for a proactive approach to bullying education and prevention.
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The Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders

The Butterfly Foundation provides support for Australians who suffer from eating disorders and negative body image issues and their carers. Butterfly provides online, education programs for young people. 

Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI)

COPMI promotes better mental health outcomes for children of parents with a mental illness by developing information for parents, their partners, carers, family and friends in support of these children. 

eHub Health
e-Hub Assist

Helpful resources for people who use e-hub services and e-facilitators who support others to use e-hub’s online self-help programs such as MoodGYM and e-couch. It can be used by many individuals such as, youth workers and more. 

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Peer Support

Providing school communities with an evidence-based, peer-led approach to enhance the mental, social and emotional wellbeing of young people. The Peer Support Program is an integrated school-based program.

Safe Steps Lopgo
Safe Steps

Is Victoria’s 24/7 family violence response centre. Providing support services for anyone in Victoria experiencing or afraid of family violence. Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre is supported by the Victorian Government.

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Think U Know

A guide to internet safety and safe surfing for young people. This website aims to help parents, carers and teachers keep young people safe in the online environment. Raising awareness and knowledge surrounding the internet.