WHY MEASURE WELL-BEING IN SCHOOLS?
In the ‘Young Australians their health and wellbeing 2011’ report, although the majority of adolescents rated their health as ‘good’, ‘very good’ and ‘excellent’, mental health problems and disorders among young people continue to account for the highest burden of disease among young people (AIHW, 2011). As reported in the 2015 Mission Australia Youth Survey of 13600 young people aged 15 to 19 years old, the top three personal concerns were coping with stress, dealing with school or study problems and body image issues. Other personally concerning issues include depression and family conflict. In addition, bullying and cyber-bullying is becoming a widespread concern (Cross et al., 2009). Besides national health initiatives, schools have been focused on enhancing youth well-being to promote optimal school experiences so that students not only achieve academic success but also develop positive character strengths to help them successfully transition into adulthood. Furthermore, majority of young people are enrolled in full-time education in school (93.8%) – a place where they develop independence away from family. Hence, the school environment forms a significant part of many youths’ lives. Therefore, conducting large-scale evaluation of youth well-being in school will achieve the aims of:
Developing a better understanding of adolescents’ present level of well-being;
Identifying strengths and weaknesses in order to guide the design of effective positive education and well-being programs;
Evaluating the effectiveness of implemented well-being programs;
Encouraging a school cultural that emphasizes on the overall personal development and well-being of individuals.