Ballarat schools say they are on the frontline with the mental health fallout for students generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As reported by The Courier, young people who could not access mental health professionals, because they were in short supply, faced extra stress.
Woodmans Hill secondary college assistant principal Shannon Ross said student welfare was a central concern.
"Students are allocated a specific teacher who monitors the wellbeing of students via daily check-ins, checks in around engagement, and provides support and activities."
"The team regularly communicates with students and parents via school communication and social media platforms, posting information about self-care, staying well, and support services available. The team also offers support to vulnerable students as needed " Ms Ross said.
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Ballarat Grammar's Dr Meredith Rayner said students' mental health was on the radar more than ever.
"While we have a regular, practical, and embedded approach to mental wellness in our pastoral care system at Ballarat Grammar, these extraordinary times are understandably having some mental health impacts on our students.
"All our teachers are having wellbeing check-ins with our students in daily tute sessions, and teachers also connect with the students in their tutorial group in a one-on-one phone or Zoom call as needed." Dr Rayner said.
Headspace Ballarat, a youth counselling agency, saw the impact of the lockdowns.
Community engagement officer Andy Penny said without normal schooling, young people could flounder as their routines were upended.
"It can be really difficult working out your identity as a young person. However, throw in home schooling and everything else that comes from being a young person, adjusting your routine, trying to keep up with everything, I suppose it's added pressure."
Damascus College assistant principal Andrew Robertson was concerned for students with pre-existing mental health issues.
"It is understandable that students with diagnosed anxiety are feeling more vulnerable because of the uncertainties surrounding the response to the coronavirus."
He said the school had a support program in place.
"House leaders, school counsellors, school psychologists, and a diverse learning team work together to support individual students and their families. They continue to provide one to one counselling sessions via remote delivery to students that require it."
Mr Penny said the pandemic had forced change.
"There's an opportunity here for exploring new things to protect our mental health: setting new routines; trying new things. "
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