Posted By Dural Rotary

L-R: Jillian Tourlas Principle Galston High, Leanne Hall and Sue Coleman, presenting Leanne a bunch of flowers for her support.

Building resilience – a mental health forum for parents

On the evening of Tuesday 4 September, Dural Rotary hosted a forum for parents at Galston High School around the topic of Building Resilience. Parents has asked the school if the Club could organise this forum as they seek to give their children strategies and skills to get them through life.  Approximately 25 parents attended, about 18 from Galston High and 7 from local primary schools.

Guest speaker was Leanne Hall, well known to the Club as a presenter at our school forums. Leanne is a psychologist and TV presenter who specialises in positive health of body and mind.  

In a society that is all about pleasure-seeking, ‘resilience’ is important – resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulty. It is about how we sit with difficult emotions and discomfort – it is not about avoiding them.

Key factors to building resilience include

  1. having a sense of belonging (whether it is school, family, sport etc)
  2. feeling empowered to make a difference in your life and the lives of others, and seeing the results in others (this is called ‘developing self mastery’)
  3. feeling engaged at school (finding your child’s strengths and fostering whatever it is – drama, humour, sport – encouraging them in that, in the school environment)

As parents, we usually try to fix things for our kids when things aren’t right. This is the opposite of building resilience. Parents need to sit and listen, help them think about the disappointment and how to navigate through it.  

If we rescue our children from difficulties, they don’t learn how to navigate for themselves and they will grow through adolescence and adult life always expecting ‘to be rescued’.

Kids need to know their parents believe in them.  So help them to develop the ability to resolve conflict themselves.

Parents were very receptive to the evening forum, asking when another will be held. Immediate feedback was very positive. As they left, parents received folders containing fact sheets from beyondblue and our own resource listing contact details where help and counselling can be found. No one was in a rush to leave – many a conversation was being had about what they had just heard.

Taking the opportunity

Leanne Hall was unable to attend last year’s Club’s Vocational Excellence Awards presentation evening due to a cycling accident that day.  Past President Allan Forno took the opportunity on Tuesday to present Leanne with her award and framed citation. This was a fitting tribute to Leanne’s passion for educating and raising awareness of positive mental health.

Thanks to Club members President George Truelove, Past President Allan and Joan Forno, Paul Baumgartner (who faithfully acts as MC at each of our forums) and Frank Chapman for attending and supporting the mental health initiative within the Club.   Our thanks to Leanne Hall, too, who gave her time freely to present an engaging and lively evening to the parents.

Dural Rotary is grateful for the opportunity offered by Galston High School to continue serving the community in this way.

Sue Coleman
Honorary Member,
Mental Health Coordinator

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