Why MENTAL HEALTH matters!

From 6 – 12 October is Mental Health Week in Western Australia. At Yogazeit we believe that Mental Health should be a priority for every body!! The earlier kids learn how to fill up their cup and find a balance between work and life, the earlier they’ll learn to take care of their mental health while they’ll grow up. Also – it’s never too late to start being good to you!

Teenage Yoga

According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

Did you know that Yoga and Mindfulness are scientifically proven to support Mental Health!

Yogazeit is a proud partner of Act Belong Commit and Western Australia Health Promoting Schools – supporting Australians with Yoga and Mindfulness tools for improved Wellbeing.

Why not take some time this week to read aloud about mental health? With thanks to “School Leaders Now” we are sharing a few recommended resources for the classroom and home:

1. Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis, Illustrated by Laura Cornell
Ages: 4–8

Jamie Lee Curtis is better known for her acting accolades than for the books she has authored. Yet, this one is downright charming. The quick verse and bright illustrations will hold your students’ attention, while teaching them to name different feelings and emotions. Curtis covers everything from silly to sad. The take away message: Any feeling you have is okay.

Why it’s a good book about mental health: A key component of talking about mental health is identifying and naming feelings. From this book, kids will learn to put a name to their emotions. It will also help kids talk more openly about their emotions.

2. The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith
Ages: All ages

The Fox and the Star comes with stunning illustrations and simple text, making it accessible to students of any age. The story leaves room for interpretation, depending on students’ maturity level and experiences. The story is about about Fox and his friendship with Star, who lights up the forest for Fox to see. When Star disappears, Fox must learn to navigate without her.

Why it’s a good book about mental health: Fox is scared and overwhelmed when Star disappears but is eventually able to find his way. The story touches on feelings of depression and loss and leaves room for each student to draw upon their own experience. Overall, the book offers a great message of hope.

3. Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets by Barbara Esham, Illustrated by Mike and Carl Gordon

Ages: 6–8

David really wants to pay attention in class, but he just can’t stay focused. He would rather daydream and dance, which is frustrating for his teacher. Luckily, David’s dad had the same trouble as a boy and helps his son come up with creative solutions.

Why it’s a good book about mental health: Attention disorders are some of the most common mental health complications seen in the classroom. David’s story makes the issues relatable, while also showing the need to find solutions.

4. Everyone by Christopher Silas Neal
Ages: 3–6

This book gives an overview of all emotions, positive and negative. From feeling frustrated to happy to all the emotions at once, Neal helps normalize the fact that everyone experiences a range of feelings.

Why it’s a good book about mental health: With simple text and illustrations, this story makes emotions accessible to preschool and kindergarten students. Because there isn’t much explanation of what each emotion is, teachers are free to open up conversation. Using this book as an interactive lesson about feelings is a great way to foster emotional intelligence in the classroom.

5. Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein, Illustrated by Shelly Hehenberger
Ages: 5–8

This book talks about the different feelings that visit each of us, encouraging kids to explore each emotion that comes their way by treating it like a guest: “Can you open your door/and invite it to play?/Can you ask what it wants,/and then check it out?” The story doesn’t label feelings as positive or negative but encourages kids to explore any and all emotions.

Why it’s a good book about mental health: The open-ended invitation for kids to explore each feeling takes this book beyond the basics of naming emotions. The book is written by a licensed clinical psychologist and includes a note for parents and suggestions for activities that could be incorporated into the classroom.

6. Up and Down the Worry Hill by Aureen Pinto Wagner, Illustrated by Paul A. Jutton
Ages: 7–10

This book is meant for kids who experience obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety. The main character, Casey, worries about making his bed just right and washing his hands. As he learns to ride his bike down the big hill at the end of the street, a lovely parallel for treating anxiety unfolds.

Why it’s a good book about mental health:This book explicitly addresses mental health by talking about excessive worry. It also presents treatment as the solution. Casey is excited to get treatment for his condition, and the tone is hopeful throughout. Wagner is the director of The Anxiety Wellness Center in North Carolina. Although the book may resonate most with students who have experienced anxiety or OCD, it can also be used in the general classroom.

Using these books is an easy way to normalize mental health conversations in your school. Make picture books a part of your principal daily life.

Where to get help

Talk to a loved one, your doctor, or call the following support lines
Mental Health Emergency Response Line
Metro – 1300 555 788 (Available 24 hours, 7 days a week)
Peel – 1800 676 822 (Available 24 hours, 7 days a week)
Rurallink – Free call – 1800 552 002
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
The Samaritans Crisis Line – 08 9381 5555 (main line)
08 9388 2500 (Youth Line) or 1800 198 313 (Country Toll Free)

Men’s Line Australia – 1300 789 978
PANDA – 1300 726 306 (perinatal anxiety and depression)
QLife – 1800 184 527
Butterfly Foundation – 1800 334 673 (eating disorders, Monday-Friday 8am to 9pm AEST)

Child Protection and Family Support Crisis Care Helpline –
08 9223 1111 or 1800 199 008 (Country Toll Free)
HealthDirect – 1800 022 222 (general health information and advice)
Wellways – 1300 111 400
(mental health system navigation, Monday – Friday 9am to 9pm AEST)

Kids and Youth Mental Health Support Lines – 1800 048 63
Child and Adolescent Health Service urgent mental health support line 6 headspace – 1800 650 890 (seven days a week from 9am to 1am AEST) (12-25 year olds, family and friends)

Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 (5 to 25 year olds) or 1800 654 432 (parents)
Youth Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636 (12-25 year olds)

Alcohol and Other Drug Support Lines
Alcohol and Drug Support Line – 08 9442 5000 or
1800 198 024 (Country Toll Free)
Parent and Family Drug Support Line – 08 9442 5050 or
1800 653 203 (Country Toll Free)

Mindful Movement Activities

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Acknowledgment of Country

We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are working and living on, the Whadjuk Noongar people.

We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life, education and mindfulness of this city and this region supported by the leadership of Noongar elders past, present and emerging.

We extend this acknowledgement and respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.