Two new student support officers have started work at Moree Secondary College as part of a state government program increasing the level of wellbeing and mental health support to students struggling with the strain of drought, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kym Smallmon and Steele Sutton recently began at Moree Secondary College and are two of six new student support officers across the Northern Tablelands.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall last week met with Ms Smallmon and Mr Sutton to hear about the support programs they were implementing for students.
"It is incomprehensible the pressure our high school students have been under this past 12 months, sadly due to events beyond their control," Mr Marshall said.
"Alongside Moree Secondary College, Armidale Secondary College, Macintyre High, Inverell High and Warialda High Schools are also among the first in NSW to receive their student support officers.
"These staff work alongside school counsellors and psychologists to ensure students are getting the support they need to deal with bullying, anxiety, stress and other difficult issues.
"Student support officers also play a pivotal role in working collaboratively with external child and family support agencies to support students, which is critical in areas like Moree."
The first phase of 183 schools received their student support officers in term three.
Mr Marshall said additional mental health support was also being provided to schools in regional and remote NSW.
"Primary and central schools have access to a team of specialist psychologists who will provide a dedicated fly-in-fly out service to ensure rural and remote students can access regular and timely psychology support," he said.
"This is about making it easier for students to get a helping hand on the spot when they are doing it tough, and that they know where to go to get additional specialist mental health and wellbeing support when they need it."
If you or anyone you know is experiencing emotional distress and needs support, please call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 and Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For more information about the program, visit www.education.nsw.gov.au/student-wellbeing/counselling-and-psychology-services/student-mental-health-and-wellbeing-support-in-schools/student-support-officers