NSW public schools in Guinness World Record attempt for the largest mental health awareness lesson

RECORD ATTEMPT: Singer Jai Waetford will be part of the entertainment when the mental health awareness lesson is live-streamed to schools in November. Picture: Supplied
RECORD ATTEMPT: Singer Jai Waetford will be part of the entertainment when the mental health awareness lesson is live-streamed to schools in November. Picture: Supplied

Students from Lake Macquarie and Central Coast public schools will be part of a statewide attempt in November to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest mental health awareness lesson.

The NSW Department of Education attempt is expected to see more than 2000 year 9 and 10 students from 50 schools across the state participate in an interactive 40-minute lesson designed to develop resilience in young people.

The record attempt will be held on Friday, November 9. 

The current title was set in the United Kingdom in June this year with 857 people in attendance.

Mark Scott, secretary of the NSW Department of Education, said the world record attempt aimed to promote the importance of positive mental health education and showcase the department’s commitment to the important issue.

“This mental health lesson has been designed to give students the resilience and skills they need to cope with stressful situations while letting them know it’s OK to ask for help,” Mr Scott said.

“Mental fitness is appropriate to people of all ages and is just as important as our physical health, because it helps improve mindfulness, enhance resilience and build optimism.

“Being mentally fit doesn’t mean things won’t go wrong, but the more mentally fit we are, the better we are at coping with life’s challenges and enjoying life.”

The Largest Mental Health Awareness Lesson has been developed in partnership with teachers and leading mental health and youth organisations, in line with the new K-10 PDHPE syllabus.

The lesson – which will also be livestreamed to more than 7,200 students from 80 schools across NSW – aims to increase student confidence in seeking help and helping others, improve their ability to talk about mental wellbeing, and enhance awareness of how to maintain mental fitness.

The Largest Mental Health lesson will be taught by staff from headspace and the NSW Department of Education. It will include entertainment from student and celebrity performers, such as singer Jai Waetford and TV presenter and health coach, Olivia Phyland.

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