Queensland’s largest private mental health facility, Belmont Private Hospital, has partnered Moreton Bay College to create a more inclusive playground for students, today confirming plans to install bayside Brisbane’s first ‘buddy bench’ to overcome the challenges of making friends at school.

As part of Queensland's Mental Health Week (5-13 Oct) on Wednesday, 9 October, Belmont Private Hospital donated the bench at a special onsite event at Moreton Bay College's Primary School, so students can reach out from a safe and comfortable space if they’re struggling in the playground.
By simply sitting on the bench, students who feel isolated while navigating the complexities of relationships and play will signal their need for connection, so that fellow students can include them in play. 

Moreton Bay College Head of Primary, Rebecca Lennon says this a positive step forward for the College and mental health awareness and prevention in Australia.

“When it comes to the wellbeing of our students, at Moreton Bay  College we seek to ensure our students feel safe, happy and supported while at school.”

“If a child is feeling left out, they can feel safe to make new friends in the playground by sitting on the bench. Another student will then invite them to play in a new game or simply sit and talk,” said Rebecca.

“We are very excited to be one of the first Colleges in the Bayside to implement this new and innovative project.”

The Buddy Bench concept aligns with the MBC’s Hearts and Minds wellbeing framework and overarching Positive Behaviour Policy. It is a valuable teaching tool that can be used to develop students’ social and emotional skills, ongoing pro-social behaviour, and help build connections that support and enrich their every day.

Belmont Private Hospital CEO, Mary Williams says the addition of the Buddy Bench will help students develop fundamental emotional enrichment skills right from the early phases of schooling and assist the students to carry these skills throughout their educational journey and life. 

“We hope the introduction of this mental health initiative improves the students’ feelings of acceptance whilst eliminating feelings of loneliness and bullying in the schoolyard.
“The Buddy Bench will help foster the early intervention of potential mental illness and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health in the community,”
said Mary.