(used to describe a living organism) To grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment.
As you know, at St Paul’s School we are committed to offering a holistic education. Our goal is that our students should flourish in all aspects of their lives – psychological, social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual – both now and into the future.
Psychologist, Felicia Huppert describes flourishing as a combination of feeling good and functioning effectively. In a society in which approximately one in five Australians experience some form of mental illness each year, and in which it is estimated that 45 percent of people will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, any definition of flourishing certainly must include social and emotional wellbeing. This aspect of flourishing has been used by Huppert in her Mental Health Spectrum, to describe optimal mental health –
At St Paul’s, we are seeking to shift the curve to the right. By providing our students with the necessary psychological resources, we hope to increase the percentage of our students who are flourishing and decrease the percentage who are languishing.
We have a variety of strategies and programs in place to promote social and emotional wellbeing. Our tutor group system provides continuity of pastoral care, as students move through the Secondary School. In the context of Tutor Groups, students engage with stimulus materials from The Resilience Project, which are included in student diaries. St Paul’s is also registered as a Be You school, meaning that all teachers have access to (and are encouraged to engage with) online professional development in adolescent mental health. Where needed, students can access the support of two full-time school counsellors.
This term we also plan to trial a new resource, Pulse, in the secondary school. Essentially, we are hoping that this online tool will help us to monitor the wellbeing of our students on a weekly basis, by means of a weekly “check-in” (consisting of 5-6 questions) on an app.
You can find out more about the app here.
Why do I think trialling this is worthwhile? Two reasons. Firstly, I am becoming increasingly alarmed about the statistics in relation to the mental health of Australian adolescents. Secondly, experience has taught me that some students are very good at putting on a “brave” or “happy” face – even when they really need help. By asking them each week, via this web-based app, “How are you feeling today?”, I believe we will be able to identify and offer assistance to more of these students.
 FA Huppert – “Psychological Well-being: Evidence regarding its causes and consequences” (2009)
 Australian Bureau of Statistics – “National survey of mental health and wellbeing (2007)
 Beyond Blue (2016)
Mr Nigel Grant
Executive Director of Faith & Community