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Building resilient children a key focus for charity

New Zealand has been announced as having the highest youth suicide rate in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). A UNICEF report released in June 2017 highlighted this alarming statistic and the need for greater awareness around the issue of youth suicide.

For Life Education, this has translated into an increased demand by schools for mental health and well-being support.

“This year we have worked with more than 10,000 teachers from across 1,600 different schools,” says Life Education Chief Executive John O’Connell.

When planning lessons with teachers the specialist health education providers noticed more and more were asking for guidance around coping strategies and resilience.

“It’s great to see communities are recognising that mental health and well-being is just as important as physical health,” he comments.

Following the scary statistics presented throughout the year on youth suicide, obesity and bullying, Life Education has worked to develop new partnerships and programmes which will support schools in building resilient children.

The report found New Zealand had the worst rate of youth mental health and well-being in the world, with 15.6 per 100,000 people in the designated age bracket (15-19) suffering.

“This is something we want to change. After 30 years of existence, these statistics and the demand we are seeing from schools, reinforce the need for health and well-being education is vital,” says John.

Life Education are continuously adapting their programme to meet the challenges children and adolescents face today. In 2017 they continued to work with their partners Garden to Table, developing ‘Empower’ (a Food and Nutrition programme), combined forces with education partner Avril MacDonald, children’s author of the Feel Brave series specialising in emotional intelligence and led workshops for teachers as part of Dove’s Self-Esteem Programme.

The organisations iconic mascot Harold the giraffe is taking a well-earned break, and is looking forward to educating and empowering even more students in 2018.

Life Education’s 45 mobile classrooms will begin teaching again in February, with more than 1,300 schools already booked to use the independent health providers.

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