Recording Country: Mental health in schools

Doctor Amanda Squibb, founder of the National Indigenous Training School, describes how teaching was another way to “cope” with her own mental health issues during the same period.

“Dirty dancing – you know, drumming, singing, dealing with mental health – it was one of my coping strategies while I was getting really lost in the mental health space,” Dr Squibb told reporter Suzy Baker.

“Getting people who’ve got it is a big problem.

The Narromine-based doctor and behavioural researcher wanted to change the culture of mental health at indigenous schools, and saw a gap in the market.

“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational sectors are very insular organisations that I would say I’m ashamed to use the word ‘champion’ of mental health – that’s how I would describe it,” she said.

We are not learning enough about mental health in our schools and having students who are at a high risk of suicide, those students aren’t getting the training, the supports and the resources, so they’re being put in dangerous situations.”

Dr Squibb also acknowledged the advantages of having a voice, but suggested that more could be done to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage more conversation about these issues.

“A lot of girls have that awful shame around mental health – they are hounded by their own community because mental health issues are considered a shameful thing,” she said.

“You don’t have a voice you will lose control of yourself.”

To celebrate mental health week, Jane Clanwillie has written a personal account of where her mental health journey has taken her.

Leave a Comment