Indigenous Wellbeing Curriculum Improves Student Mental Health

Posted by Michael Boltman on

Student First Aid - Indigenous Wellbeing Curriculum Improves Student Mental Health

A remote homelands school in the Northern Territory is using Indigenous ideas about wellbeing in its curriculum to improve student mental health.

The Yirrkala Homeland School in north-east Arnhem Land has been trying to address high youth suicide rates, self-harm and poor school attendance, according to its teachers.

Teleta Munyarryun, a teacher at Dhalinjuy - one of the six homelands serviced by the school - has been incorporating emotion-based activities in her classroom.

‘We just get the kids to point out how they felt that day or how they felt in the afternoon,’ Ms Munyarryun said.

‘They put their names next to their emotion.’

Ms Munyarryun said focusing on Yolngu wellbeing concepts has prompted attitude and behaviour change among her students.

‘Especially for some of our young boys that used to run amok — now they're proper well-mannered and they really respect themselves and their sisters, and whoever's helping in the classroom,’ she said.

‘It changes them in the classroom and it changes the community as well.’