Local secondary school recognised for its outstanding achievements in the mental health and wellbeing space

Elisabeth Murdoch College (EMC) is celebrating after recently achieving recognition from the Victorian Government and Cancer Council Victoria’s Achievement Program (AP), for the Mental Health and Wellbeing health area. This well-deserved recognition acknowledges the schools ongoing efforts to prioritise the health and wellbeing of all students, staff and families.

To support this work, EMC is the first school in Victoria to employ a Health Promotion Officer.

“EMC have a lot to be proud of when it comes to looking after the mental health and wellbeing of their whole school community,” says Claire Dimsey, Health Promotion Project Officer, EMC. “With the help of Peninsula Health, EMC aims to continue their efforts to be a ‘Health Promoting School.”

A big contributor to the recognition of this award, is the three tiered approach EMC take for the wellbeing of their students. Tier one focuses on all students from a primary prevention perspective, such as their partnership with ‘The Resilience Project’.

Tier two involves a targeted approach for students, with a range of group programs running throughout the year; and tier three focuses on one-on-one support for students. An example of an EMC group program on offer, is “Street Art” which brings students together to complete a mural project on school grounds, with support from the local organisation, State of the Art murals. Students learn skills in street and aerosol art, giving them an opportunity to express themselves in creative, pro social ways and connect with the school community positively.

EMC strives to ensure their school is welcoming, inclusive and creates a sense of belonging and connectedness. They proudly acknowledge their 39 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students and their families, and seek to create opportunities to celebrate the strength and potential of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and support them in becoming emerging young leaders in their community. The schools aims to lead best practice for engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and embedding Koorie education across the school.

“EMC is lucky to have mobs represented from all over Australia, from my own mobs Taungurung and Gunnai, as well as Murri Warri Ngemba to Yorta Yorta and Wemba Wemba, Wiradjuri and Butchulla, Yuin, and Kurnai, and Palawa. I would also like to acknowledge that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know who your people are and where your Country is yet. You can grow that connection to your culture, and there’s people who can support you to do that.  And you’re part of the EMC mob, and you’ll always have a place with us,” says Noah, Year 9 (2022), Taungurung and Gunnai.

To learn more about Koorie education at the school, visit their Instagram account @emc_koorie

The Health Promotion Team looks forward to continuing our relationship with the school, and supporting them in the ongoing journey to create a health promoting environment for the whole school community. 

This blog was written by Madeline Tatham, Health Promotion Practitioner at Peninsula Health and Claire Dimsey, Health Promotion Project Officer at EMC.

If your school would like to learn more about how Peninsula Health can support you to create health promoting settings, we would love to hear from you.

Send us an email at healthpromotion@phcn.vic.gov.au.