Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Education spokesperson
The Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) has found nearly two thirds of schools say they have insufficient resources to deal with anxiety in students.
This is, sadly, no surprise.
The planet is heating - due to corporate greed and government inaction - and its children in growing numbers aren’t equipped to cope. When you add the pressure of social media and a 24 hour news cycle, it’s little wonder school kids are experiencing more mental distress.
Young people will be the most affected by the climate crisis. Of course they are feeling anxiety about this issue so acutely.
The increasing levels of anxiety experienced by children should be met with a serious response from the Tasmanian government. This morning on ABC Radio, APPA President Malcolm Elliot identified concerns about climate change and bushfires as significant factors influencing young people’s mental health.
The Greens understand a quality education is not solely about academic performance, it’s also very much about student wellbeing. That’s why we included $8 million extra for school psychologists, $6 million for social workers in our Alternative Budget* last year.
We also called for the establishment of a Climate Resilience Program across the public education system. We hope the Deputy Premier, who is responsible for both Education and Mental Health, will follow our lead and provide the resources in this year’s State Budget.
Young Tasmanians need to be ready for the future in every possible way. We need proper support for young people experiencing anxiety to be readily available, but we also need political leaders to give them hope for the future.
In a time of climate emergency, we must support young people, give hope through leadership and act urgently in the name of future generations.
* Alternative Budget 2019/20: https://tasmps.greens.org.au/policy/alternative-budget-2019-20