- Wednesday, 30 August 2023 at 12:00 am
Live theatre has drawn students into an interactive discussion on bullying and wellbeing, with students providing advice for the onstage characters in a highly praised performance at Alkira Secondary College.
The Year 7 students at the Cranbourne school were active, involved ‘extras’ in Brainstorm Productions’ 2 performances of ‘Wired’, a play that demonstrates skills for managing cyberbullying, and building resilience, healthy relationships and positive mental health.
In addition, Wired’s young performers conducted a question-and-answer session to expand on the issues explored. Curriculum-linked lesson plans then facilitated further learning and discussion in the classroom.
The school purchased the Wired performance from the Schools Mental Health Fund’s evidence-based Menu, and staff were thrilled to see how the performance struck a chord with students.
Tanya Ryder-Barnes, assistant principal, Alkira Secondary College, said the thought-provoking play was ‘a triumph’. She said Wired portrayed the challenges students face every day and ensured that they felt seen and understood.
‘It opened up important student conversations around mental health, highlighting the impact of anxiety and the overwhelming influence of social media,’ Tanya said.
Tackling 3 big issues
Brainstorm Productions’ clinical psychologist Dr Ameika Johnson said Wired is part of the company’s program to stimulate discussion and learning around 3 key issues:
- cyber safety
- wellbeing and mental health.
'We know the best learning happens when students feel emotionally connected,’ Ameika said. ‘Our live performances connect with students through storytelling, humour, movement, music and relatable characters.'
Brainstorm Productions is a Schools Mental Health Menu provider and is endorsed by the eSafety Commissioner as a Trusted eSafety Provider. Programs are developed by teachers, creative professionals and a clinical psychologist, in consultation with staff and students.
Each 50-minute performance is supported by a Teacher Resource Pack, including discussion points, lesson plans mapped to the Victorian Curriculum and links to related resources. Live performances are available for primary and secondary students.
Key mental health and wellbeing benefits for students
The Brainstorm Productions program features a different performance each year. The program targets a range of student wellbeing outcomes, including:
- the ability to recognise and regulate emotions
- social skills such as assertive communication, cooperation, conflict resolution and helping behaviours
- the ability to identify personal strengths and use these to achieve prosocial outcomes
- help-seeking intentions and behaviours (including reporting and seeking help in response to cyberbullying)
- the ability to recognise and understand the perspectives, emotions and needs of others.
About the Schools Mental Health Fund and Menu
The Schools Mental Health Fund is allocated to schools annually and underpinned by an evidence-based Menu, which provides schools with opportunities to purchase evidence-based programs and initiatives across the 3 tiers of intervention.
This includes initiatives that:
- promote student mental health and wellbeing
- enable schools to intervene early to support students
- provide targeted and more individualised support for students who need it.
Menu items have been externally assessed for how well they support student mental health and wellbeing, ensuring schools have access to a range of evidence-based supports to meet their needs.
Find out more
You can also access the Bully Stoppers online toolkit for resources to help schools prevent and respond to bullying.