A HAPPINESS-BUILDING program has helped boost the mental health outcomes for the region's school communities.
Students, parents and teachers of Horsham College and Horsham's Ss Michael and John's, Natimuk and Minyip primary schools participated in The Resilience Project presentations over three-days.
Project facilitator Martin Heppell led the presentations, which explored many strategies that students, parents and teachers could put into action to support themselves through adversity.
"At times life can be tough, but there are also moments that are great. It is making the children aware that they can do stuff to help themselves and to help others around them," Mr Heppell said.
"It is about making them aware that if they listen to music, exercise and laugh, then their positive emotions and cognitive capacity goes through the roof and their verbal fluency, engagement and creativity improves.
"For parents and teachers, it's about giving them strategies they can use to address mental health."
Mr Heppell said an ever-growing amount of data has shown that people are becoming more lonely.
He said this data could be addressed by concentrating on everyday behaviours and making necessary changes.
"I scroll through Instagram and Facebook, put up photos and have a conversation, but I'm not hanging out with another human being," he said.
"It is about us, as a community, coming together and knowing that we can rely on each other and foster relationships that are positive and have a beneficial outcome for all."
A simple smile can change someone's day. Even saying hello to someone in the morning.Neeve Kelly
Horsham's Ss Michael and John's Primary School student Neeve Kelly said the presentation gave everyone many strategies that could be used everyday. She said the program taught her to be more positive, but it was also okay to feel sad.
"Just by being positive, uplifting and smiling can do a lot of difference," she said.
"A simple smile can change someone's day. Even saying hello to someone in the morning. It's something we do at our school, but it can definitely be done more often.
"We talked about how we should be happy, but then if we are sad then talk about it."
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