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Mental Health in Education Summit 2018

Completing the Mental Health in Education Summit will contribute 20 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 4.1.4, 4.4.4 and 6.3.4 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Lead Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

When left unrecognised or untreated, poor mental health in students can have severe consequences. According to beyondblue, the number of deaths by suicide in Young Australians is the highest it has been in 10 years. Schools play a critical role in driving improved mental health outcomes for children and young people.

The Mental Health in Education Summit 2018 seeks to discuss how school communities can effectively identify and prevent risks of mental illness. Attendees will gain insight into building flexible and innovative wellbeing programs, protecting the mental health and wellbeing of teachers, and gaining community-wide buy-in for their mental health policies.

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  22 - 24 August 2018
Sir Stamford at Circular Quay


We have brought together Australia’s leaders in educations from a range of well-known schools, TAFEs and Universities.


Over three information-packed days, you will hear case studies from Australia’s leading educational institutions.


Interactive sessions designed to give you the skills you build inclusive psychologically safe learning environments.


Sir Stamford Circular Quay


  • Understand emerging trends in mental health
  • Provide early intervention and targeted support
  • Drive student ownership of their own wellbeing
  • Build inclusive and safe learning environments
  • Protect teacher wellbeing
  • Encourage help-seeking behaviours

Who should attend this conference

100%Principals and Vice Chancellors

100%Heads of Student Wellbeing

100%Heads of Student Services

97%Student Counsellors and Psychologists

95%Directors of Learning

Get Ready To Be Inspired!

Scroll down for more info and the agenda
Easy online booking or call for further assistance

Key Speakers


Duncan Kendall

Assistant Director of the Senior Preparatory School

The Scots College Sydney


Dr Kate Hadwen


Presbyterian Ladies' College Perth


Peter Rouse


Canely Vale High School


Rhiannon McGee

Head of Positive Education

Geelong Grammar


Leah Du Plooy

Manager, Counselling Services

La Trobe University


Melanie Duncan

Assistant Director Student Wellbeing Operations

RMIT University


Norma Fakhouri

Senior TAFE Counsellor

Sutherland TAFE


Jeanette Caruso

Head Teacher, Disability Consultant, Mental Health Support

TAFE Digital


Feni Bembridge

Principal Consultant, Institute for Professional Learning

Department of Education, WA


Catherine Misson


Melbourne Girls Grammar School


Mark Smith


Lomandra School


Tracey Todd

Manager, Student Support and Transition

University of Wollongong


Matthew Porter

Head of Wellbeing

Waverley College


Dr Steven Middleton

Head of Berwick Grammar School

St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School


Adam Osborne




Marcus Wicher


Auburn South Primary School


Abhishek Awasthi

Manager, Student Engagement and Retention

Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute


Kerry Cheeseman

Refugee Support Leader

Based at Holroyd High School


Melissa Abu-Gazaleh

Managing Director

Top Blokes Foundation


Kristen Lopes

Employment Law Partner

Colin Biggers & Paisley


Phillip Spratt


Australian Council of State School Organisation

  • Day One: Speaker Sessions

    8:30 Registration, morning coffee and tea

    8:50 Opening remarks from the chair: Mark Smith, Principal, Lomandra School

    Mental Health in Context

    8:50: Case Study: Strengths-based approach to mental health awareness and intervention

    • Nurturing mental fitness in students by understanding trends
    • Building positive social connections through school culture
    • Increasing resilience and self-awareness
    • Promoting help-seeking behaviors in boys

    Matthew Porter, Head of Wellbeing, Waverley College

    9:35 am: Navigating the legal risks around student and teacher mental health

    • Understanding the legislative requirements for wellbeing policies and safe working practices
    • Diagnosing and identifying mental health issues in teachers and principles
    • Ensuring confidence in duty of care

    Kristen Lopes, Partner, Colin Biggers & Paisley Lawyers

    10:20: Morning Tea

    Student Wellbeing

    10:40 am: Learn it, Live it, Teach it, Embed it: Creating a whole school approach to Positive Education.

    • Engaging the entire school community with the wellbeing message
    • Adopting long-term policies and practices to support and nurture wellbeing within students and the broader community
    • Empowering students with the wellbeing message through dedicated curriculum time

    Rhiannon McGee, Head of Positive Education, Geelong Grammar

    11:25 am: Understanding the correlations between mental health and academic achievement

    • Assessing if academic trouble are signs of mental health problems
    • Identifying if academic disengagement is a sign of poor mental health
    • Helping students achieve by finding the best educational adjustments
    • Cultivating productive and inclusive learning environments

    Duncan Kendall, Assistant Head of the Senior Preparatory School, The Scots College

    12:10 pm: Designing flexible and dynamic programs in a multi-campus diverse institution to meet student needs

    • Ensuring equitable access to student support services through strategic collaborations
    • How Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute are increasing attendance at its programs, including orientation
    • Ensuring continuous improvement in your programs and interacting beyond the boundaries of an institution

    Abhishek Awasthi, Manager, Student Engagement and Retention, Bendigo TAFE and Kangan Institute

    12:55pm: Lunch

    1:55 pm: Reducing the pressures of increasing expectations on students

    • Minimising the pressures arising from the strict boundaries around studying
    • Encouraging a healthy study-life balance to increase resilience to stress
    • Promoting alternative pathways to goals to reduce anxieties about failing

    Dr Steven Middleton, Head of Berwick Grammar School, St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School

    Mental Health and Teachers

    2:40 pm: Protecting teacher mental health by mentoring graduate teachers to adapt to the classroom

    • How the Department of Education WA guides graduate teachers through the early years of their career
    • Using mentorship programs to aid new teachers to adapt to the increased workload of their career
    • Creating conversations with new teachers to ensure graduates reflect on what’s working in their classrooms

    Feni Bembridge, Principal Consultant, Institute for Professional Learning, Department of Education, WA

    3:25 pm: Afternoon Tea

    3:45 pm: Fostering psychologically friendly learning environments through mental health first aid training for teachers: perspectives from TAFE NSW

    • Enabling early intervention by training teachers and staff to identify mental illness symptoms in students
    • Creating positive and accepting learning environments where it is safe to discuss mental illness
    • Efficiently rolling out mental health first aid training and awareness programmes for all staff

    Norma Fakhouri, Senior TAFE Counsellor, Sutherland TAFE

    4:30 pm: Establishing positive working cultures to build resilience in staff

    • Encouraging open dialogues amongst teachers about their mental health
    • Creating collaborative teaching spaces through strategic staff room design
    • Ensuring flexible guidelines for measuring teacher success and performance
      • Cultivating productive work environments

    Peter Rouse, Principal, Canley Vale High School

    5:20 pm: End of Day One

  • Day Two: Speaker Sessions

    Mental Health Engagement

    9:00 am: Encouraging student engagement by developing effective practical, academic and emotional management skills in students

    • Driving achievement in students with challenging behaviours and emotional disturbances through outside-of-the-classroom engagement programs
    • Nurturing community belonging in students through the ‘Outside Classroom’
    • Building social and emotional skills in students to prepare students for life beyond school

    Mark Smith, Principal, Lomandra School

    9:50 am: Maximising student engagement and success through outreach, transition and wellbeing programs

    • Using innovative strategies to identify students not engaged and to encourage help seeking
    • Facilitating transitions and building resilience through peer mentoring
    • Promoting a Healthy Community – Enhancing student success through wellbeing
    • Tiered approach to Support Services and educating teachers/academics as referral partners

    Tracey Todd, Manager, Student Support and Transition, University of Wollongong

    10:40: Morning Tea

    11:00 am: Driving student engagement by involving them in the decision-making process

    • Consulting student leadership teams when developing mental health frameworks
    • Using student surveys to tailor frameworks to their needs
    • Encouraging students to connect with their peers to nurture a supportive school environment
    • Cultivating safe and supportive environments for students through school culture

    Jeanette Caruso, Teacher Disability Consultant, OTEN TAFE

    11:50 am: Gaining community-wide engagement for your mental health strategy

    • Promoting early invention through community wide mental health conversations
    • Extending your mental health message to home life by Increasing parents and carer engagement
    • Developing mental health programs that connect parents/carers with your mental health programs

    Adam Osborne, Deputy Head of College, St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox

    12:40 pm: Lunch

    Tackling Anxiety

    1:30 pm: Physical activity as a proactive approach to wellbeing

    • Understanding the link between physical activity and positive mental health
    • Empowering health behaviours through individualized approach to physical education
    • How Melbourne Girl’s Grammar’s Wellbeing Coaching Program is equipping students with healthy life skills

    Catherine Mission, Principal, Melbourne Girls Grammar

    2:20pm: Panel Discussion: Taking proactive approaches to tackle the rising trends of mental illness

    • How do we address the rising rates of mental health issues in younger children?
    • How do you ensure students get help before their issues become serious?
    • How do you support high risk students?

    Adam Osborne, Deputy Head of College, St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox

    Phillip Spratt, President, Australian Council of State School Organisations

    Kerry Cheeseman, Refugee Support Leader, Based at Holroyd High School

    3:20pm: Afternoon Tea

    3:40pm: Developing management skills in students through dedicated wellbeing spaces

    • Redesigning your curriculum to maximise wellbeing outcomes
    • Teaching student’s emotional management skills through dedicated wellbeing
    • Minimising stresses around exams by promoting meditation
    • Establishing healthy life habits in students that will help them succeed beyond school

    Dr Kate Hadwen, Principal, Presbyterian Ladies’ College Perth

    4:30pm: How to evaluate the success of your wellbeing programs

    • Using cost benefit analysis to improve your wellbeing programs
    • Identifying the impact of your programs on mental health outcomes for all students
    • Are you seeing a reduction in poor mental health and bad behaviours?
    • Strategies for driving continuous improvement

    Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, Managing Director, Top Blokes Foundation


  • Day 3: Post- Conference Workshops

    8:30am Registration, morning coffee and tea

    9am: Workshop A                           

    Supporting student learning by promoting mental health

    There is a strong and expanding evidence base indicating that university students, as well as students in general, are a ‘very high risk population’ for psychological distress and mental disorders and that the prevalence of mental health difficulties is growing across student populations”(A Framework for Promoting Student Mental Wellbeing in Universities).


    This workshop will explore the learnings of student wellbeing teams at two Victorian Universities and showcase their response to their mental health wellbeing concerns from both program development and policy setting perspectives. Workshop delegates will have access to university student wellbeing frameworks; policies and procedures; and programs to examine and interrogate. The lessons learnt from this workshop will be applicable to primary and secondary schools.

    This workshop will cover:

    • A comparison between mental health wellbeing concerns of the secondary school and higher education sectors
    • Techniques for policy and program design
    • Identifying student needs when improving student wellbeing frameworks

    .Leah Du Plooy, Manager, Counselling Services, La Trobe University

    Leah has been a qualified social worker for more than 20 years and has worked in various settings including acute hospitals, sexual assault counselling, child and family welfare and tertiary education.
    She currently manages the Student Counselling Service at La Trobe.
    Prior to this, she spent five years Maurice Blackburn Lawyers developing an innovative in house Social Work Program providing Counselling and Case Management to clients who had sustain significant injury and seeking compensation

    Melanie Duncan, Assistant Director Student Wellbeing Operations , RMIT University

    Melanie has worked in higher education since 1999, specialising in student wellbeing service delivery. Much of her work has been in the international student space, working with the students to overcome their academic and personal hurdles. Her extensive experience working with students has seen her work broaden in recent years to design higher education policy and develop student-centred wellbeing programs to enable a physically and emotionally safe learning environment for enrolled tertiary students.

    12:30 Lunch

    1:30 pm: Workshop B

    Building a mentally fit school through wellbeing programs

    To create the biggest impact on students, wellbeing programs need to engage teachers and parents with its message. This interactive workshop will inform delegates how to develop a school-wide conversation around mental health to gain student buy-in and adapt wellbeing strategies to your schools needs.

    This workshop will cover:

    • Overcoming limited resources when building a strong mental health framework
    • Encouraging students to talk about their mental health with their teachers and peers
    • Creating a community wide discussion about mental health through programs targeted to parent/carer engagement

    Marcus Wicher, Principal, Auburn South Primary School

    Marcus is an experienced Head of School. He is passionate about driving positive organisational change and enabling individuals to flourish and organisations to thrive. He is a strong educational leadership professional with a Master’s degree focused in Applied Positive Psychology from University of Melbourne (MAPP).


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