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Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese to Tackle Schools Staff Wellbeing in 2018​: Landmark mental health toolkit to be rolled out across half of NSW

The Catholic diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes will roll out a Staff Wellbeing Toolkit across all of its schools in 2018, in what is seen as a significant commitment to enhancing the wellbeing of schools staff across western NSW.

Developed by the National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative (NESLI), the Wellbeing Toolkit has been designed specifically for Australian schools and responds to growing awareness around the excessive stress and pressure faced by our school educators and administrators. 

The innovative program will be rolled out right across Wilcannia-Forbes, which is the largest diocese in NSW, comprising more than half of the state. The developmental initiative has the complete support of all school principals and senior officials throughout the territory.   

Developed by NESLI, the Toolkit is heavily influenced by the seminal Principal Health & Wellbeing Survey conducted by Dr Philip Riley from Australian Catholic University. Having commenced in 2011, Dr Riley’s research has put the spotlight on the critical link between staff wellbeing and the success of Australian schools.

Speaking at the official launch at the Wilcannia-Forbes Catholic Education Office in Forbes, NSW on 1 November, Mary-Ellen Dempsey, Assistant Director of Catholic Education, expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming program.

“We are deeply committed to the wellbeing of all of our schools staff right across the Wilcannia-Forbes diocese. Having observed the evolution of the Wellbeing Toolkit throughout this year, we are delighted to partner with NESLI to empower and support our people.”

NESLI National Director Damien Farrell spoke about the transformative impact that the Toolkit is already having across more than 200 schools.

“NESLI is extremely excited to be working with the entire Wilcannia-Forbes schools network, and are confident that a profound shift in social capital will take place throughout the region.

“As a result of doing the 5 module program, schools have reported a marked quantitative improvement in such things as understanding the importance of wellbeing, improving collaboration amongst staff and enhancing the quality of interactions between teachers and administrators. Participants have also experienced a 21% increase in positivity scores throughout the program.”

Full Interim Impact Report for the NESLI Staff Wellbeing Toolkit

More information about the Staff Wellbeing Toolkit

For more information, contact Alistair Young from NESLI on (03) 9270 9032 or

Mary-Ellen Dempsey, Assistant Director of Catholic Education, Damien Farrell, National Director, NESLI and Natalie Johnston, Schools Consultant, Wilcannia-Forbes announce the rollout of the Staff Wellbeing Toolkit
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