Home' Independence : Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 2009 Contents 8 Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 09
SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS
1 THE LINK BETWEEN WELLBEING AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
More than 80 per cent of Principals internationally and 94 per cent of Australian Principals
believe that emotional/mental health and wellbeing are 'very important' for academic
achievement. Responses are consistent, regardless of Principals' estimate of the student
diversity and family income in their communities, or of their reported years of experience.
Principals estimate that approximately 20 per cent of their students need prevention or
2 MAJOR STUDENT ISSUES
Among students, Principals identify bullying and harassment, impulse control and anger
management as the top three emotional/mental health and wellbeing issues, followed by
family dysfunction, behaviour problems, anxiety, and stress. Australian Principals identify
family dysfunction as the top issue. In their work with students Principals identify the most
important issues they face are how to increase their awareness of issues, identify those in
need of services and gain access to services.
3 MAJOR STAFF ISSUES
Principals report that stress, anxiety, and depression are the major emotional/mental health
and wellbeing issues among staff, followed by loss and grief and bullying and harassment.
They cite the importance of building an environment where staff members can assist other
staff and children to feel safe and supported. In both the global data and Australian sample,
Principals consistently report staff issues to be of lower concern to them than student issues.
4 GOVERNMENT POLICIES
Principals see a need to increase and strengthen government policies with regard to both
student and teacher emotional/mental health and wellbeing through schools. Australian
Principals report the existence of more government policies for student and teacher
general health and mental health than identified in the global sample, and also ranked the
need for educational materials for students and staff higher than the global sample.
5 IMPACT OF STUDENT FAMILY INCOME
Principals of schools with lower student family incomes report poorer emotional/mental
health and wellbeing among students and staff across a range of issues and generally
express a greater desire or need for materials and resources. Principals of schools with
high student family income offer higher ratings than their peers when considering the
importance of educational materials, training and other resources for addressing several
specific emotional/mental health and wellbeing issues.
6 NEED FOR RESOURCES
Principals identify that training programs and materials for their staff, especially in the form
of DVDs, videos and web-based courses, as well as exchange with other Principals and
experts, would be most useful. Principals want resources, training and materials to address
nine critical areas of a whole-school approach, including support to students and families in
distress, effective prevention and promotion strategies, and teaching emotional and social
DATA CHECK 1
International survey of Principals
on health and wellbeing
Main findings from the 2008
In 2008 the International Confederation
of Principals (ICP), in partnership with
the International Association of Child and
Adolescent Mental Health and Schools
(Intercamhs), surveyed 1200 Principals
across the globe about their perceptions
on emotional and mental health and
wellbeing of students and staff, including:
• The link between emotional and mental
health and academic achievement
• Major emotional and mental health
issues facing students and staff
• Types of professional development,
education and training materials and
other resources, and national policies
that might be most supportive and useful
to them in addressing these issues.
Intercamhs and ICP believe a strengthened
response to emotional and mental health
in schools is necessary not only to enhance
human development, but also to recognise
and address the critical link between
emotional and mental wellbeing, learning
and academic performance.
ICP is an association of Principals' associations.
AHISA is a member organisation of ICP and
takes an active role at ICP Council level.
A more detailed report of the international
findings of the ICP-Intercamhs survey, and a
country report for Australia, are now available
on AHISA's website, www.ahisa.edu.au.
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