Private schools spending millions on wellness centres

Published: 09 January 2017 Image credit: Melbourne Girls Grammar

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Private schools are setting up multi-million dollar ‘wellness centres’ in a bid to tackle mental health issues in teenagers, such as anxiety and depression.

According to reports, the centres will feature yoga studios, reflection areas, and spaces for mindfulness, meditation and counselling.

However, architect-designed centres will come with a heavy price tag of up to $23 million.

It is understood Melbourne Girls Grammar School, Geelong Grammar and Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies College have already launched building proceedings.

The move comes as education facilities adopt a more multidisciplinary approach to combatting mental illness, combining physical activity, counselling and classroom-based programs to do so.

“These schools are responding to a specific concern that there seems to be a growing number of young people with mental health issues,” Australian Heads of Independent Schools Association chief executive Beth Blackwood told The Australian.

“There’s an increase in anxiety levels, a decrease in reliance and generally those attributes that you want young people to have to enable them to thrive in life have been eroded in the past decades, and these sorts of facilities allow them to address that.”

According to The Australian, many parents have expressed their concern about the rise in school fees while child psychologists claim wellness centres are vital.

Geelong Grammar in Victoria, has dedicated $8 million to its wellness centre which will feature a health café and a space for students to practice movement, mindfulness, dancing and mediation.

It will also be equipped with a six-lane swimming pool.

Melbourne Girls Grammar School in South Yarra launched the development of its $23 million Artemis Project, while PLC Perth’s $7.8 million Lighthouse project will soon open its doors.