The Learning Enhancement Department’s commitment to our students is to remove barriers to learning. We have a team of four trained counsellors, led by Mrs Linda Clouston, to address the variety of needs of our students. Another important aspect of Learning Enhancement is the Learning Support team, led by Mrs Julie Mulcahy. The Department is supported by our nursing team which works from the Health Centre.
We have a team of three full time Counsellors at Westlake Girls. Our Counsellors are registered members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (www.nzac.org.nz) and abide by the NZAC code of ethics. All counselling provided is private and confidential. Students most often self-refer, but can also be referred by teachers, House Deans, Senior Management, or parents.
Counselling in school can help students reach their full potential and can help change how they feel about themselves and challenging situations, by exploring thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This can then open new options, goals and directions. Counselling can also help improve relationships and increase self-understanding.
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Students come to counselling for many different reasons. Some of these might be:
- Help with a wide range of feelings like worry, sadness, anger or feeling down
- Family relationships
- School learning, or relationships at school
- Eating concerns
- Difficulties with friends, or romantic relationships
- Online difficulties
- Extra support for students new to Westlake
- Personal concerns of many different kinds
Students can book an appointment by:
- Using the Request Counselling form in the sidebar menu of the Westlake Girls School App
- Emailing our counsellors directly
- Completing a counselling request form in the counselling offices area in the administration building
- Visiting counsellors before school, at interval or at lunchtime to book an appointment
If you need to talk to someone when you’re not at school, we’d especially recommend Youthline or a new service called Need to talk? Need to talk? is a free service. Call or text 1737 anytime, 24 hours a day. You’ll get to talk to (or text with) a trained counsellor.
Online help or phone counselling is available free 24 hours a day, seven days a week from Youthline.
- Text counselling: Free txt 234
- Email counselling: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone counselling: 0800 376 633
- Online video counselling
- Online chatting
At times, one of our counsellors may suggest a referral to an outside agency e.g. Marinoto Adolescent Mental Health Service which is part of the North Shore Hospital. Parents are welcome to contact counsellors for advice and information about our service here, or other agencies for young people.
Depression and Anxiety
The Lowdown is a New Zealand website which provides information for young people on how to recognise, understand and cope with symptoms of depression and anxiety. The Lowdown offers a webpage text service, and counsellors respond to texts to 5626 and emails 24 hours a day/7days a week. (facebook.com/TheLowdownNZ)
These articles on depression are from the Hey Sigmund website recommended by our team:
Understanding the reasons why we can feel anxious, and also what happens in our brain and body with these feelings is really helpful. These articles, also from Hey Sigmund, provide really helpful ideas for developing new ways of coping:
- Managing anxiety
- Dealing with social anxiety
- Anxiety without medication
- Dealing with performance anxiety
Online fantasy game SPARX
SPARX is an online fantasy computer game developed by the University of Auckland to help young people deal with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
The Breathe app is free and helpful for helping to calm the body and mind.
Mindfulness is also a great way of growing feelings of calm in our lives. Smiling Mind is an Australian website designed to teach mindfulness in a fun and clear way. Doing one brief session a day is enough to start making a difference in the beginning to settle the mind and emotions. The Smiling Mind app is free and can be downloaded from the App store or from Google Play.
Smiling Mind: Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation:
Video link here
These animated YouTube clips also introduce mindfulness:
Articles on mindfulness:
Cyber Bullying and Digital Communications
To report an online incident (e.g. scams, online bullying, harassment or abuse) or to get advice, contact Netsafe. The Netsafe contact centre is available to help from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am- 5pm on weekends.
- call toll-free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
- complete an online contact form
- or email email@example.com
If you have any concerns about bullying behaviour of any kind, please make an appointment with one of our counsellors to get help and support.
Rainbow Youth provides support and information for gay and gender diverse young people in New Zealand. Here at Westlake we have a Diversity Group which meets each Wednesday lunchtime. Both gay and straight people come along to this safe, welcoming and accepting group.
Family Violence it’s not okay. This website provides help, information and support for anyone affected by, or concerned about family violence. Free phone 0800 456 450 9am-11pm every day of the week. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shakti 24 hour crisis line: 0800 SHAKTI (742584)
Shakti provides free support services for women, children and families of Asian, African and Middle Eastern origin. They specialise in the area of women’s development, empowerment and domestic/family violence intervention, prevention and awareness.
Alcohol and Drugs
Altered High is a group of health professionals help young people with concerns about their own, or someone else’s, alcohol or drug use.
Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797 is available 24 hours a day, every day.
The EDANZ website provides information on eating disorders, and also treatment and recovery in New Zealand. Eating Disorder treatment is provided by a range of providers – public, private, specialist and general, in-patient or day based. Finding the right treatment usually starts with a visit to your family doctor. They will be able to refer you to the appropriate service, and treatment will follow from there.
Support for Parents and Caregivers
The Common Ground website is a helpful New Zealand website for family and friends to learn about useful ways to support themselves, and teenagers with mental health issues. It includes videos of families learning as they go through tough times and has a space to share ideas, or to ask for advice.
If you would like advice about helping a young person you’re concerned about, Common Ground suggests you contact Youthline on 0800 376 633, or send a free text to 234. Support packs are available on request, and information from Mental Health New Zealand can also be accessed.
The Parenting Place
The Parenting Place offers a range of programmes and resources designed to encourage and equip families to thrive.
Ministry of Education
The Ministry of Education website has Information on Mental Help which provides useful tools and resources for parents and caregivers to support their children’s wellbeing.