Traditionally psychology has focused on the identification and treatment of distress and mental disorders. This is an important task as one in four people experience a mental disorder (such as anxiety and depression) each year. For the remainder of the population however, significantly less has been done to assist individuals remain mentally healthy by preventing the development of mental disorders, and less still for optimising wellbeing.
With the introduction of positive psychology (or positive education as it is referred to within education), there have been a number of developments to help individuals flourish. The term “flourishing” denotes a high level of wellbeing characterised by positive emotions, engagement (or flow), positive relationships, meaningfulness and accomplishment. Lifestyle factors such as nutrition, exercise and sleep are also necessary to provide the energy and physical capacity to participate in a happy and fulfilling life.
Many schools are now adopting positive education principles into their curriculum as they see the goal of education to not only equip students with the necessary academic ability for working life, but also the ability to stay physically and mentally well.
Given that about half of all people who develop a mental disorder in their lifetime have their first experience before the age of 14, and 75% before the age of 25, school years are an ideal time for young people to develop knowledge and skills to maintain and optimise mental wellbeing.
For staff members, given that so much time is spent at school, the workplace is also an ideal place for them to practice behaviours that enhance mental health. When staff members care for their own wellbeing, not only are they protected against the likelihood of mental disorders, they also provide a positive example to their students.
Flourishing at School is a cloud based software solution for schools who want to excel at whole school wellbeing. The platform includes the Flourishing at School survey, administrator portal for monitoring results and report generation, separate modules for staff and students, resources for improving individual wellbeing and classroom activities. The solution is consistent with the NSW Department of Education Wellbeing Framework for Schools (2015) and the Geelong Grammar School Model for Positive Education (2013).