Newcomb Secondary College - social worker

James Murphy – Assistant Principal, Newcomb Secondary College: Newcomb Secondary college is a public co-educational secondary school in Geelong's eastern suburbs. And our school sits in a community context where there has been very significant change over recent history. So it definitely is a school that presents wellbeing complexities and challenges for the school in accommodating and managing those.

Amanda's contribution to our school as our Mental Health Care Practitioner has been multi-tiered and also multifaceted. I guess in the first instance, it's enabled for our students to have access to a highly skilled and passionate practitioner for their very individualistic point of need.

Amanda Davis – Mental Health Practitioner, Newcomb Secondary College: My name is Amanda Davis and my background is social work and I work two days a week at Newcomb Secondary College. In addition to my two days as a Mental Health Practitioner at Newcomb Secondary College, I also work as a Social Worker for student support services within the Department of Education. And being able to hold those two roles, means that I get an opportunity to work across a range of different schools. And I really enjoy that.

Linda Gawith – Mental Health Coordinator, Barwon Area: This is really great because it gives her insight at more of an area level, but also at the local level. So, the information that she's able to feed back to not only the school, but also to the initiative about the issues that the schools are facing, is really quite broad.

The role of the Mental Health Practitioner is to work across the three tiers. But we really want our practitioners to really work in that tier one area, which is that health promotion, and prevention, and early intervention. So, this is about targeting the whole of the school regardless of whether they've got mental health issues, and building the capacity of our teachers to better support their students' health and wellbeing needs.

Amanda Davis: There are so many things that I enjoy about working in the school. The opportunity to work with young people, to support their wellbeing, is an absolute privilege. It's not something that I take lightly because I think when people, you know, are open to support and seeking help, it's something that I really value being able to build relationships with students to support their wellbeing. To also get to work with families as well.

I think schools are really inspiring places. So you get to, I suppose, see students work towards their goals and to reach their potential. And that's such a lovely part of the work that we do. I also get to work with an amazing wellbeing team. Teaching staff, education, support staff. That's a really nice part of the role as well.

Chiara Ercoli – Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Newcomb Secondary College: So some of the activities that our Mental Health Practitioner Amanda is undertaking, are things that we couldn't offer as we didn't have the time to do that. So things such as The Peaceful Kids program. She's able to offer Sand Tray Therapy as she's qualified in that area for our students, which is amazing and really successful. Amanda is able to offer yoga to some of our students at lunchtime, and they have a huge uptake of that.

As well as her one-on-one counselling. She's also able to offer secondary consult and consultation and support to our team, which is just impeccable.

James Murphy: Amanda's been instrumental in breathing a lot of life into the application of our Marrung strategy. And through Amanda's contribution, our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have really felt a heightened sense of connection to their own cultural heritage. And Amanda's work in that space has enabled for them to feel a really strong and vibrant sub community within our school

Kaiden – Student: The Koorie group, we have Koorie meetings like every two weeks on a Thursday. I think that's really good. A lot more kids are learning more about their culture. And a lot of my friends are starting to respect my culture and not being rude about it, or not offending me. When they realised they offend me, they don't do it again. So, it helps me a lot more 'Cause then I can feel like I can actually say something and not get judged about it. The talking up, talking to people, talking in big groups. It's helped me  a lot more with my confidence.

Amanda Davis: I would highly recommend applying for a Mental Health Practitioner role. I think it's a wonderful opportunity to be able to support young people to help them to reach their educational potential.

The Department of Education really supports the role in terms of the connection that we have with our Mental Health Coordinator. Also other Mental Health Practitioners within the area. It's a really great role in terms of the support that is offered to you to be able to do the work that you do. It's a job that I absolutely love.