Active modalities to support mental health - Education Matters Magazine
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Active modalities to support mental health

Combining cognitive behavioural therapy with therapeutic physical activities and exercises, the MAT Life Skills Program aims to engage students and create a space where they can learn about self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness and respectful relationships.

Run by non-for-profit organisation TESSA Inc., the program is delivered in more than 60 schools and community agencies across Victoria every week and has reached over 16,000 young people who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from education.

The Program delivers the content of the Victorian Curriculum on Personal and Social Capabilities as well as the Respectful Relationships program including the key elements of emotional regulation, resilience and diversity.

Strategies based on empathy, positive reinforcement, collaborative problem solving, and the understanding of choices and their natural consequences are the foundation of the MAT Life Skills Program.

While the program uses the individual psychology and trauma informed practice as the lenses through which it sees the behavioural needs of the students, the delivery of its content is based on other proven frameworks.

“One of the main challenges in the education sector, and society in general, is to provide students with programs that break the stigmas on mental health, gender perceptions, emotional regulation and relationships in a format that is engaging, memorable and that uses a combination of learning styles such as visual, verbal, auditive, kinaesthetic and reflective,” explains Rodrigo Castellanos, MAT Life Skills Program Manager.

“Physical activities have been shown to develop important life skills while also boosting self-esteem, motivation, confidence and general wellbeing. In the case of improving the mental and emotional health of students, physical activity-based interventions such as MAT Life Skills Program provide an alternative that successfully complements other types of interventions based on conversational delivery models.”

A crowdfunding campaign to support the activities of the program is now underway. For more information, please click here.

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