Mental Health Efforts Recognised with Top Honour

This w​eek was Queensland Mental Health Week​ and we celebrated not only with various activities around the College, but also with a win at the Queensland Mental Health Achievement Awards​.​

The Claver Mental Health and Wellbeing Initiative (MH&WI) that was launched in May by 2023 Social Justice Captain Ricco Vaoa-Webster and fellow Student Leader Louise Hinds was awarded 1st prize in the 'School Award' category.

Claver Guidance Counsellor Michelle Sams has been working on the MH&WI with Ricco and Louise since the beginning and accepted the Award on behalf of the College.

“These two remarkable students with the help of their friends and key staff, created a communal social movement focussing on raising awareness about mental health and wellness and reducing the stigma often associated with seeking help," she said. 

“The initiative involves students talking about issues pertinent to young people and learning strategies that will help them maintain mental wellness. Student voices and ideas are expressed through student artwork which is constructed into posters and placed around the College. These messages are then spoken about by students in College Assemblies, classes, lessons and on the playground."

Ricco Vaoa-Webster said win or lose, he was happy with how the MH&WI was going and was happy to make the short list of Award finalists, let alone win.

“I hope this recognition inspires others and that our legacy will continue into next year and for many years after," he said.

“I think it's quite bold of me to assume the Initiative is working, but the anecdotal evidence suggests it is. I find myself walking around the College and having students engaging with me about the Assemblies I spoke at, or even what I'm planning to implement next, or how they can get involved."

Lousie Hinds said the Award is exciting and it emphasises that we are doing a great thing for our College community and making an impact.

“I'm significantly hoping that the Initiative inspires the Claver student body to share their own story, to show others they are not alone. I also hope it encourages students to seek help, no matter how big or small they deem their problems - through the posters which help inform students of the warning signs, and how to look after their peers and most importantly, themselves."

Michelle Sams also said, “I think what really resonated, was the fact that our project is student led; it has the ability to help so many students across the College; and the level of engagement from students wanting to contribute artwork or get involved has been incredible."

“This is an incredible initiative for the College and an amazing legacy for Ricco and Louise to leave. The Claver Guidance Counselling Team and community will do our best to keep it going and keep it growing for years to come."

Principal Bruce McPhee said the recognition was well-deserved.

“Thank you to Ricco and Lousie for having the courage to start a new initiative that benefits the whole Claver community", he said.

“It's also nice of our staff to be acknowledged for all the work they do in this area and it's a testament to the incredible job our Counsellors and Pastoral team have been doing for many years."​

PHOTO: Guidance Counsellors Alister Ballschmieter and Tracey Beck Gude, Social Justice Captain Ricco-Vaoa Webster, Fisher House Captain Lousie Hinds, Guidance Counsellor Michelle Sams and Principal Bruce McPhee.