From the Head of the Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann
On the Subject of Wellbeing
Some of you may have seen the report in the Weekend Australian that 100,000 children are on medication for depression, with the number having doubled in the past six years (23 February 2019). As Ferguson writes, the nation’s most experienced clinicians warn that the nation is facing a mental health ‘iceberg’.
As a parent and teacher, this is something that seems troubling, and is also quite complex. As Danielle Wolff, one of our School Psychologists, remarked, there are a number of potential reasons for this complexity. Firstly, we have an increased awareness of mental health concerns and in turn, this can lead to further treatment. At the same time, there is a high demand for treatment providers, and this could mean that there is less time per patient for longer term counselling. In our modern world, there are also other factors involved, including increased time on devices (therefore less time spent exercising and being outside – contributing to Vitamin D deficiency and low mood, as well as less sleep). We also live in a world where we see ‘perfection’ everywhere through the media; this can lead to feelings of inadequacy.
At Brighton Grammar, we teach the boys about emotions, seeking help and strategies to manage and overcome challenges. And, for parents, Danielle makes a number of recommendations:
- Limit screen time and devices in bedrooms at night.
- Look closely at the social media accounts your son is following and have discussions about why they follow these accounts.
- Encourage your son to delete accounts that don’t make him feel good.
If you are concerned about the medication prescribed to your son, it is important you discuss this with your treatment provider and obtain a second opinion if concerns are not adequately addressed. Medication can take time to work and side effects need to be considered; continuous monitoring of the type of medication and dosage is required.
On a brighter note, it was wonderful to have a very full house at the Effective Learner Parent workshop this week. Each time we run this program, I feel we are learning more about the challenges at home and that we are strengthening the community bond. It’s this bond – this thread – that binds us together and, in turn, becomes the supportive fabric within which our boys can grow.
Crowther Parent Workshop Program – Term 1
The Effective Learner at Home: Building Better Routines
By popular demand, we’re running this workshop again.
Date: Monday 18 March 2019
Please register to attend The Effective Learner at Home: Building Better Routines.