Wellbeing/ Moriah Psychology Team

Moriah College's proactive approach to promoting mental health and wellbeing among its students is evident through the implementation of preventative programs, evidence-based initiatives like "Flourish@Moriah," and the dedicated support provided by the psychology team. By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, Moriah College aims to help students flourish and develop essential life skills for authentic happiness and success.

Implementing Preventative Programs and Services:

At Moriah College, the school psychologists focus on implementing preventative programs and services to support students' mental health and wellbeing. They collaborate closely with the Heads of Years and Heads of Stages to design developmentally appropriate programs. These programs raise awareness about mental health issues and teach coping strategies for stress management and building resilience. Additionally, the psychologists work individually with students on a short-term basis, conducting assessments, providing short-term treatment, and referring them to external mental health professionals when necessary.

"Flourish@Moriah." Co-created with school leaders, this initiative is based on Martin Seligman's PERMA model. It aims to equip staff and students with essential life skills for authentic happiness and success. The five core areas of Flourish@Moriah include:

  1. Relationships: Emphasizing the importance of belonging and meaningful connections to foster a sense of community.
  2. Daily habits of GEM K: Encouraging students to practice gratitude, empathy, mindfulness, and kindness as scientifically proven tools for authentic happiness and inner success.
  3. Character Strengths: Helping students recognize and understand their strengths to face challenges with resilience and optimism.
  4. Spiritual Intelligence: Allowing students to explore their Jewish identity, find meaning in Jewish life, and foster love and pride for Israel.
  5. Intellectual Development: Encouraging active engagement in learning, curiosity, setting personal academic goals, and celebrating achievements.

Programs and Services Across Campuses:

In the Early Learning Centres (ELCs), A dedicated psychologist is available across all the Early Learning Centres (ELCs) three campuses.   The psychologist works with educators, children, and parents. Child focussed preventative programs will be run through the year. The focus of these programs will be on emotional regulation and social skills and towards the end of the year there will be a program to assist with transition. Parent support is also available in the form of parent discussion groups- ‘Ask the Psychologist, individual parent support sessions and other parenting courses.

In the Primary School, two psychologists provide individual consultations, psycho-social assessments, psychological screenings, and run various programs like the "Growing Moriah Minds" program, lunchtime friendship hubs, the Super Brave Resilience Club, and parenting programs such as the "Circle of Security" program and Tuning into Teens parenting program for Year 6 parents. 

In the High School, two College counsellors offer crisis intervention, short-term counselling, and referrals to external mental health professionals. They also created an eight-module Consent program, run a Mindfulness course, provide Pops of Wellbeing at Year meetings, and have established a Flourish@Moriah student team for wellbeing initiatives. 

Common Challenges Faced by Students:

According to the Mission Australia Youth Survey of Moriah College in 2022, the top four reported personal challenges of students were study stress, mental health concerns, the impact of Covid-19, and interpersonal relationship issues. The psychology team commonly sees students presenting with a range of mental health symptoms and concerns, including anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, eating disorders, gaming disorders, and challenges related to academic pressure, friendships, relationships, and family dynamics.

Supporting Mental Health and Wellbeing:

Collaboration between parents, teachers, and school psychologists is crucial to effectively support students' mental health and wellbeing. At Moriah we encourage parents to maintain open communication with the school and reach out to their child's Head of Year, Head of Stage, or the School Psychology team. We work closely with the College wellbeing teams as the Heads of Year are the parents first contact with the school. If parents notice changes in their child's behavior, sleep patterns, or eating habits, seeking help and support early is essential. Letting the child know that they are loved, supported, and that help is available is important.

Meet the Psychology team:

  • Dee Fittinghoff - Head of Psychology and Positive Education (ELC- Y12)
  • Irit Bennissan - High School Counsellor (Years 10-12)
  • Tammy Suchard - High School Counsellor (Years 7-9)
  • Jo Jacobson - ELC & Primary School Psychologist (Years K-2)
  • Courtney Karpin - Primary School Psychologist (Years 3-6)

Introducing Quest, the Newest Addition to the Wellbeing Team:
Moriah College is delighted to welcome Quest, a beautiful black Labrador, as the newest member of the Wellbeing team. Quest, a 'paw pal,' will be working alongside the school psychologists to support students. Trained by Guide Dogs Australia, Quest's calm presence will assist students immensely, making her a valuable asset to Moriah College.