Paying it forward for mental health - Education Matters Magazine
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Paying it forward for mental health

Grounded in positive psychology and mindfulness-based research, the Grow Your Mind program has sparked a pay it forward movement, where schools and parents are donating the mental health kits to other schools and families in need.

The mental health resources for schools and homes were developed by primary school teacher Alice Peel and acupuncturist Kristina Freeman; and aim to teach students about their brains, emotions and ways they can flourish.

The pair also designed a teacher wellbeing course designed with aim of better supporting school staff to not only teach emotional wellbeing but to know how to look after their own mental health.

The Grow Your Mind resources are currently in use at over 70 schools throughout NSW, Australia and abroad; including both government and independent schools.

Since their initial crowdfunder, which raised over $85,000 so that the kits could be produced and be provided to a variety of low socio economic schools, a pay it forward movement has developed.

Parents and grandparents have gifted mental health kits to their children’s schools and community members have enabled some homes and schools in need to receive Grow Your Mind resources.

Through the Grow Your Mind program, children are taught about the contagious nature of kindness, compassion and generosity, which has been demonstrated through this pay it forward movement.

It began with Woollahra Public gifting Grow Your Mind school kits to Mascot Public. A few weeks later Montessori East donated the Grow Your Mind teacher wellbeing workshop to La Perouse Public.

In term 2 of 2019, professional volunteers from Atlassian will be visiting 10 primary schools to donate Grow Your Mind resources.

For co-founders Ms Peel and Ms Freeman these acts of generosity are incredibly uplifting. They said that to see primary schools now taking on the role of giving to others has sparked a great level of joy and hope in both of them. They feel strongly that poor mental health does not discriminate and therefore believe that access to their resources shouldn’t discriminate either.