New wellbeing space opens in St Helena

Words by William Ryan (Year 11 student) at St Helena Secondary College

St Helena Secondary College staff celebrating the opening of The Hub. L to R: Vicki Ward MP (Member for Eltham), Shannon Hussein, Sarah Russell, Stephanie Villani, Karen Terry (College Principal), Rachel Weiss (Leading Teacher for Wellbeing), Denise Young and Vittoria Saliba (past Assistant Principal)

Earlier this year, a new wellbeing space, known as The Hub opened at St Helena Secondary College, accompanied by students and Vicki Ward, the local MP for Eltham. The Hub team is led by Rachael Weiss (Leading Teacher for Wellbeing), and is supported by a number of social and mental health workers, including Stephanie Villani, Sarah Russell, Shannon Hussein, Elizabeth Nealy, Kara Chambers and Denise Young. The Hub aims to promote mental health and provide a community support base for students to help them flourish in the school community. Social worker Stephanie Villani spoke about her role within The Hub and the new opportunities it brings to the school.

Stephanie helps students feel included in their community and assists them in managing their mental health so they can actively participate in their schooling. Another role that Stephanie fills as a social worker is identifying the needs of students within the school community. The Hub team aims to make the space a proactive place with goal-filled interventions for students, aimed at the best outcome for them.

With The Hub now open, Stephanie is pleased to have a space with the right tools to help keep students engaged within the school. Stephanie describes the resources for The Hub “as a massive step up” as they enable the Hub team to expand their role within the school. Stephanie has also been able to meet many more students than she did before. 

She said that a significant contributing factor to this is the different programs that The Hub offers. As a result, The Hub can cater to a larger number of students. Programs such as the Raise the Mentor program, which targets Year 8 students to help them build connections, and Wellbeing Wednesday, which is run by the local council and offers workshops around mental health. According to Stephanie, these programs can be a preventive space for students and help tackle the stigmas that still exist around mental health.

Families who are interested in checking out The Hub can do so when booking a school tour at St Helena Secondary College. The Hub is a valuable resource for students and highlights the school’s commitment to promoting mental health and wellbeing among its students.