Educating Girls

10 October 2019

Self-awareness and self-care, key for mental health

Self-awareness and self-care, key for mental health


Recently Madeline Heffernan wrote a piece in The Sydney Morning Herald that focused on the changing nature of conversations among young people; highlighting that discussions about their mental health was now front and centre in schools.

At Ruyton we have also responded to the growing incidence of mental health concerns, particularly among girls. We know that poor mental health is not only associated with poorer learning outcomes, but also life satisfaction and success in later life. It is because of this that we have dedicated significant resources to supporting our Wellbeing Programme, staff professional learning and in providing strong co-curricular and leadership programs for all our students.

Ruyton's Wellbeing Framework and associated Wellbeing Programme in the senior years focuses on equipping girls with greater self-awareness and the skills to navigate the often-bumpy journey called “adolescence”. However, as mental health concerns often appear before the age of 14, a key part of our Wellbeing Programme in the middle years is focussed on developing a strong sense of identity and each girl’s individual strengths. It also strives to foster positive relationships and helps girls to recognise the potential negative impact of social media.

Our younger students are also supported through interventions such as the practise of mindfulness and the use of Kimochis that enable our younger girls to develop a language around their emotions.

Becoming aware of our own self care while supporting our girls is essential. To support and assist colleagues I recently wrote to our staff with the following timely reminder for Mental Health Week.

“When given safety instructions on a plane, they always say that before helping others, first put on your own oxygen mask.  Mental Health Week, is a timely reminder for us all of first looking after our own mental health".

Ruyton staff are provided with a readily accessible “Tool Kit” that cover tips, fact sheets and apps relating to overall wellbeing, but in particular our personal mental health. Our Staff Health and Wellbeing Committee, regularly meet to look at ways to further support colleagues and foster a healthy, productive and vibrant workplace.

As educators of girls, student wellbeing, focuses on empowering every girl to flourish by embracing emotional, social, physical and academic wellbeing practices, but we must first practise self-awareness and self-care, key for our personal mental health.


Trish Hatzis

Director of Wellbeing
Ruyton Girls' School
October 2019