Student Curriculum Overview
Aim of Program:
Parachute has created a cutting edge mental health program for middle and high school students. The aim is to normalise and de-stigmatise conversations on mental health in young people, and empower them with methods of self-acceptance, self-reflection, and transformation.
Delivery of Program:
The program is presented in a unique video-based format using interviews of teenagers sharing vulnerable stories. Here is a snapshot of the production style and approach: https://youtu.be/-MHIr1ACmhE
The program is flexible in length, with options of presenting it across 4 or 8 classes. Each section of the program includes didactic teaching from a clinical psychologist using examples of the real stories of young people, as well as exercises and discussion points for the class.
Content of Program:
The topics cover the building blocks of psychological awareness that young people would gain in a course of therapy. They are guided through learning how their minds work and understanding the impacts of childhood trauma. They learn how to identify and change unhelpful patterns of thought and behaviour, and how to relate to their emotions in a healthy manner. Finally, they are equipped with tools for dealing with bullying, relationship difficulties, and other social challenges.
What it Requires of Teachers:
The program is designed to be run in class by any teacher. The role of the teacher is to supervise the lesson and moderate the discussion, but there is no requirement to teach any material. However, there are extensive resources available for teachers if they choose to learn more.
Why Students Like it:
Teenagers engage with this content because it is presented in a way that is relatable and interesting to them. The videos show real accounts of young people who are struggling or who have struggled, and give students a practical understanding of how this relates to their own lives. The program also fosters true connection between students, creating a sense of community and support that makes their entire school experience more meaningful and enjoyable.
How it was Developed:
We have created this program in research collaboration with Columbia University in New York, and are currently piloting it at schools in New York, Canada, and Australia. It is a built upon Dr Hayley Watson’s PhD on bullying interventions and 15 years of direct experience working with youth and developing programs in Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia.