At Mount Roskill Grammar School we have a team of four Counsellors. All have post-graduate counselling qualifications, and all are full members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors. They abide by the Code of Ethics of this association, which means that confidentiality is maintained unless there is an imminent risk to safety.
Counsellors work in the Student Services building next to the Hall. When you walk in, our friendly receptionist, Jan Pace, will help you access the services you need.
Referrals are welcome from students, from parents and from staff. An appointment system is used to enable Counsellors to give our students uninterrupted sessions. Counsellors offer individual and group counselling, mediation and Restorative Justice facilitation and advocacy. They share a commitment of working towards a socially healthy and emotionally safe school.
Over 100 students attend counselling each week for a wide range of issues. Students of all academic levels, and from all ethnicities and age groups are represented. Students do not need to be “in trouble” at school!
If appropriate, and with parental consent, students can be referred free of charge to the Kari Centre (in Greenlane Clinical Centre) for psychological support. This can be recommended when students face depression, anxiety, panic attacks or other mental health issues.
Itinerant Counsellors from Auckland Sexual Abuse Help work from our premises one day a week. Also, Counsellors from Community Alcohol and Drug Services provide counselling here if this help is requested.
Making an Appointment
For students: please drop in at the start of the day (between 8.15 and 8.50) to make an appointment with a counsellor of your choice.
For parents: please e-mail or phone to make an appointment.
- Margaret Hoogendoorn (M.Ed.Counselling, University of Auckland, MNZAC) Head of Guidance Peer Sexuality Support Programme coordinator Ph. 6210050, xt. 825
- Donna Hourigan-Johnston (M.A.Counselling, University of Auckland, MNZAC) Mediation and Life Mentorship co-ordinator Ph. 6210050, xt. 864
- Rebecca Rylands (PGDipCounsTh, Provisionally Registered Member of NZAC), Accredited DRUMBEAT facilitator, DRUMBEAT co-ordinator Ph. 6210050 xt. 865
- Kalani Chapman (M.Ed. Counselling, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Provisionally Registered Member of NZAC) Body Image Leaders coordinator Ph. 621-0050 xt. 713
Student Led Initiatives in the Counselling Department
Counsellors and students run a number of programmes within our school which helps us to spread our message of supporting each other, stopping harassment, building respectful relationships and celebrating diversity.
These programmes are Peer Sexuality Support Prorgamme (PSSP), Peer Mediation and Mentorship Service, and Body Image Leaders (BIL).
Counselling Group Programmes
We have two proactive group programmes to support Year 9 students. These are our Anti-Harassment Programme and The Travellers Programme. (links above)
Out of School Help
Recommended telephone lines:
Youthline 0800-376633 or txt 027 4 youths
Chinese Lifeline: 0800-888880
Domestic Violence Centre (24 hour line) 3033939
Sexual abuse help (24 hours) 6231700
For depression: www.thelowdown.co.nz and www.depression.org.nz
For teenagers supporting a friend who has an unwanted sexual experience: www.gr8mates.org.nz
Drinking and drugs out of control? www.cads.org.nz
Domestic violence: www.dvc.org.nz
Body Image and Eating Issues: www.eden.org.nz
Peace Week 2013
The Mediators once again helped MRGS celebrate International Peace week during the 5-9th August by providing a number of exciting activities: peace assembly presentations; random acts of kindness; peace quote competitions; face painting; the wearing of white ribbons for peace; painted peace banners and t-shirts. On Wednesday, it was “Embracing Diversity and Anti Violence Day” where the hall was full of information stalls from the Human Rights Commission, Rainbow Youth, ‘Violence is not ok campaign’ and Shine; as well as stalls on Body image; disability awareness; the student’s ‘Working For Change’ antiviolence project; and peace crane making. There was also beautiful music playing from all the music bands.
On Friday, the Mediators marched for peace around Mt Roskill community with the releasing of white balloons at the end.
Peace week is a student driven and student owned campaign where all the Mediators collaborate together in a positive way to make a difference to our MRGS community.
A BIG Thank you to all the Mediators who worked so hard to make International Peace Week such an enjoyable week!
Peer Sexuality Support Programme (PSSP)
We are proud to be part of the Auckland District Health Board’s Peer Sexuality Support Programme. This programme started about ten years ago when increasing evidence became available that advice and information given by peers is effective in influencing adolescent attitudes and behaviours. Young people have knowledge of the culture, language and concerns of people their own age. This way young people can be empowered to make informed decisions about their sexual health.
Each year we select some students who attend a four-day training hui with students from other schools. The training programme concentrates on exploring the attitudes, behaviours, beliefs and values of participants and their peer groups. The experiential workshops raise the personal awareness of participants’ own sexual health and identifies the limits of their role. They are provided with accurate information, and access to resources and resource people. They are upskilled in the areas of support and communication skills, knowledge of referral pathways, and ideas on health promotions within our school. The trained students then act as support, resource and health promotion people within their peer group and within our school. Our students help the counsellors teach classes on relationships and sexuality within the Year 10 Health programme. They actively promote values like respect and communication.
Our current PSSP team consists of Solomon Penny, Sunil Penumarthy, Beau Xu, Talia-Rae Mavaega, Viliami Tutone, Cairo Te Whiu, Angel Yu, Lorraine Brown, Luke Winny, Vaughan Thompson
Peer Mediation and Mentorship
Peace Week activities
Peer Mediation is about students helping students. Mediators aim to resolve conflict in a constructive way. Conflict is a normal part of our lives and it is how we choose to deal with it that can make the difference.
The New Zealand Peace Foundation provides the mediation training in our school. Mediators learn to respect diversity and to value differences.
The role of the Mediators is to not only help students resolve conflict behind closed doors in a confidential mediation room. It is also about being “Ambassadors of Social Justice”. Mediators lead in the school community by promoting and modelling fairness and respect for others, watching out for harassment and bullying, and by supporting students to get help when needed. They aim is to help the school to be a safer place.
Mediators lead in the celebration of International Peace Week with assembly presentations, painted banners and white ribbons, face painting, peace poster competitions and daily peace quotes:
“An eye for an eye makes everyone blind” (Mahatma Gandhi)
“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing” (Edmund Burke)
Our school initiated Peer Mediation services in 1994. Today we have over 200 trained Mediators. Annually over 250 students apply to become Mediators, and 100 students are selected to do the training.
Students interested in applying need to be in Year 11 and 12. Applications are invited at the beginning of each year. Advanced Mediation training in Human Rights issues is provided the following year. We presently have 86 Advanced Mediators. 30 Mediators each year have the opportunity to train as Life Mentors. After intensive two-day training, they are equipped to provide one to one support to younger students.
You are welcome to see our friendly receptionist Jan Pace at Student Services to request a Mediation, or a Life Mentor. Confidentiality assured!
The Bullying Forum - From Bully To Peacemaker
Body Image Leaders (BIL)
At Mount Roskill Grammar we celebrate all kinds of diversity. One of these is the diversity of Body Shape and Size. Many students struggle with their body image and few realise that the picture they have in their minds of how they should look is greatly affected by images portrayed in the media. Many of these images have been photo-shopped, air brushed and computer enhanced to the point that they do not represent reality.
At Mount Roskill Grammar we have a group of students called the Body Image Leaders whose mission is to promote positive Body Image, Body Satisfaction and to create awareness around the myth that the media presents as to how we “should” look.
Currently the Body Image Leaders is made up of team of 12 students from Years 11 to 13. There are six boys and six girls in the group. The group has been established in the school since 2001.
The Body Image Leaders programme is strongly supported by EDEN (Eating Difficulties Education Network). EDEN provides a youth worker who meets with the Body Image Leaders on a fortnightly basis. The students also attend a training session once a term with EDEN.
The Body Image Leaders support other students in two main ways. Firstly they educate and increase awareness around Body Image by teaching a session on Body Image for all Yr 10 Health Classes and by making Assembly presentations to the whole school. Secondly they support students who might be dealing with Body Image and Eating Disorder issues.
Currently our Body Image Leader team consists of:
- Akshat Chugh
- Jamie Cullen
- Heidi Judd
- Lina Kavaliku
- Praveen Krishna
- Praneeth Saturi
- Priyam Varma
- Jacinta Weaver
- Victor Xie
- Angela Yen
Year 9 Anti-Harassment Programme
To learn effectively, students need to feel emotionally safe at school. Harassment, bullying and shaming cause long-term psychological damage, and hence are unacceptable.. At Mount Roskill Grammar School we take harassment seriously. We don’t think it’s a “normal part of growing up”, we don’t believe it’s helpful to ignore it, we don’t think it’s “just a bit of friendly mocking”. We pro-actively try to stop it.
In term 1 each year, all Year 9 core classes spend two periods in the “Sunshine Rooms”, the large group room of the Counsellors that can seat a whole class in a circle. Students get an opportunity to get to know the two Counsellors who co-facilitate the sessions, and we explain how Counsellors support students at Mount Roskill Grammar School.
Following on, we run an interactive workshop on Harassment. We explain we are passionate about stopping harassment and bullying, and we take harassment extremely seriously at our school. We have many resources in place to stop it effectively:
- Counsellors. Students can come and discuss harassment and bullying concerns confidentially with a counsellor. We will make a plan to stop he harassment. The names of the people who reveal the harassment can be kept confidential. We can work with students individually, but sometimes it is more helpful to work with a whole class to stop harassment. We use a restorative “No-Blame” script, focussing on students them selves taking responsibility to stop harassment.
- Six very accessible Deputy Principals.
- Harassment Contact Teachers. Each classroom has a poster with photographs of 16 Teachers who are trained to listen to harassment concerns, and who will take it seriously, and help it stop.
- Student Mediators. They can help students resolve conflict in a confidential and respectful way. We have a Mediation Room in Student Services, and requests for Mediation can be made to a Counsellor, or to the Receptionist, Mrs. Pace.
We encourage both students and their parents to tell on Harassment! A common misunderstanding is that telling on harassment, teasing, and bullying will make it worse. Not true!
The Travellers Programme
Exploring Life’s Changes
Travellers is a school-based mental health promotion programme for young people in Year Nine that enhances connectedness and supports changes in life’s journey.
“I feel pretty good about myself now. Before I used to feel that all my problems were piling up and now I feel I can sort them out. It seems that since I’ve been in the group everything’s changed and it’s all going my way now, like I’m just sorting out my problems, nothing can stop me now. I can deal with it. I used to try and keep my problems to myself and now I’m using my friends and I go to the school counsellor and sort them out. That was my big change from being in the Travellers group.”
Young people today are experiencing change at a pace more rapid than previous generations. At an individual level, they experience the biological, cognitive and psychosocial developmental changes associated with adolescence. Additional life change events experienced may include:
- Changing schools
- Changing friendships
- The loss of something or someone close, such as family member or pet
- Changing residence such as moving cities or countries
- Changing family status such as parental separation or remarriage
- Changing state of wellbeing e.g. self-esteem, illness or injury
When young people struggle to adjust to changes in their lives emotional distress may result, particularly if they do not have the necessary skills and/or support.
About the Travellers group programme…
Travellers aims to foster the healthy development of young people by:
- exploring their change experiences;
- developing ways to navigate their movement through change in safe and adaptive ways;
- supporting young people in exploring links between the ways in which they think and feel about change situations and how their thoughts and feelings influence how they cope and respond; and
- enhancing supportive environments for young people experiencing change, and thereby improving their learning outcomes.
The name Travellers:
The name Travellers reflects the idea that “life is a journey” which involves change. The “journey” metaphor is one that young people in the pilot groups related to well:
“It sounded adventurous and it wasn’t embarrassing. I talked to my friends about it and that was good.”
The Travellers Group:
- about 10 Year Nine young people
- 8 sessions (120 minutes)
- sessions reflect on major events and daily hassles
- school-based in class time
- facilitated by trained school staff which includes the school counsellors
Findings from the Travellers pilot project
Young people reported how their experience in Travellers enhanced their connections with peers, family members, staff and facilitators:
“It’s different now. Before I went to Travellers I didn’t really get along with my friends. I just felt invisible; no-one was listening to me or cared about me. Well now I speak up to them and finally they care about me and I’m not invisible any more.”
“I can talk to people and the counsellor. I could share my feelings and it was kept personal. I got on with people in the group. I get on with teachers now. I didn’t get on with them before Travellers. I talk to my form teacher about stuff now.”
Young people reported being able to access additional support and counselling as a result of taking part in Travellers:
“I got to know the counsellor in the group and I went to her. I wouldn’t have gone to her if I hadn’t got to know her in the group.”
“I would go to friends and family. I wouldn’t have done that before. I kept my troubles to myself.”
Young people’s emotional distress reduced:
“It was really good and everyone should go. I got mentally stronger from doing Travellers.”
“Before Travellers I was low coming to a new school and I’m now happy and feel pretty special that I was chosen.”
“It was really good, especially for the third form because it helps you ease into new surroundings and it sort of explains things.”
Young people reported improved school performance:
“I’ve changed in how I relate to teachers. I’ve been good and stuff, since I did Travellers I’m getting better reports.”
“Before I did Travellers I was a lot lazier and it’s made me more motivated and wanting to do something with my life.”
Counsellors’ comments reflect the positive outcomes Travellers has in schools:
“I perceive Travellers as an example of powerful, cutting edge, secondary school guidance counselling. To meet counselling needs proactively and time-effectively in small groups needs to be an approach we take if we want to have a significant impact on the emotional health of our school population.” Margaret Hoogendoorn
A Principals’ comment highlights the effectiveness of Travellers in schools:
“We see Travellers as a very valuable addition to the work that we do and that early identification is really valuable. We see it as very effective. It allows counsellors to engage with the young people in a more positive way to begin with and then if they need to unpack some of their concerns, they’ve already got the relationship.”
Questions parents might have about Travellers
How is selection for the programme done?
By the administration of a 10-15 minute survey to all Year Nine students early in TERM ONE of the school year to identify young people for the Travellers programme.
Does my child have to participate?
Participation is voluntary. You may choose to withhold permission for your child to take part in the initial Year Nine survey as well as for your child to participate in the group. However it is recommended that your child is encouraged to participate in Travellers as it has been found to be extremely beneficial for those young people who have previously taken part.
What if the survey indicates significant distress for a young person?
If a young person is identified as experiencing a significant level of emotional distress, the school counsellor will follow established school protocols and ethical counselling practice.
When does the Travellers group take place?
During school time and with a sensitivity to students academic attendance requirements.
For further information please contact:
Margaret Hoogendoorn, Head of Guidance, or
The Travellers Project Manager
PO Box 7309, Wellington South
Free phone 0800 299 100