St Clare's High School students recently wrapped up a unique creative arts project with a strong anti-bullying message.
Year seven students participated in the Anti-Bullying Project in term two, commissioned by local performing arts school Stacey Lee's Centre Stage.
Like miniature versions of Steven Spielberg, students created short films that explored issues surrounding bullying in the schoolyard, on the internet and social media.
Principal of the performing arts school Stacey Evans hoped the exercise resonated with students about the damage bullying can have on young lives.
"They are immersed in it rather than being spoken at which I think helps them understand it better," Stacey said.
The films were premiered in the school hall before the mid-year break. Stacey judged each film based on sound, editing and a true reflection of a bullying situation.
Students who created the top three films were awarded chocolates.
Earlier in the year, Stacey implemented the project at Taree High School.
This time, year seven students created short scenarios with an anti-bullying message that were acted out in front of the class.
The difference in activities gave Stacey a better scope of what worked better for students.
"It's a new trial to see what has worked and has the best impact," Stacey said.
"It's (the project) in the pilot stage, we've got to get it right before we roll it out."
Stacey is determined to have the effectiveness of the project researched.
"We're looking for data, so we hope to work with a university to see if immersive creative arts works," Stacey said.
Bullying can increase the risk of developing mental health issues.
According to Beyond Blue, around one in 35 Australians aged 4 to 17 experience a depressive disorder.
That's equivalent to 112,000 people.
One in seven young Australians experience a mental health condition, while the number of deaths by suicide in young Australians is the highest it's been in a decade.
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