Relationships and wellbeing

Schoolies is a great opportunity to hang out with your friends, meet new people and celebrate the end of school. It is often promoted as ‘the best week of your life’ but for some, it may not always be fun. The human body is not designed to work without sleep, food or water so non-stop partying for seven days is unrealistic – no matter how fit and healthy you are.

If you take care of yourself and your mates, enjoy some downtime as well as the busy times, your Schoolies experience is sure to be a good one.

Mental wellbeing

Schoolies is often promoted as the best week of your life but for some, this may not always be the case. Whether you've had a fight with friends, had too much to drink, are overtired or Schoolies just hasn't lived up to your expectations, know that it's completely normal for you to feel emotional highs and lows.

It’s OK to not feel OK.

It's important to acknowledge these feelings, communicate them with the people around and who care about you, and know that there is always help available.

Tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing whilst at Schoolies:

  • sleep well – lack of sleep is linked to symptoms of depression including irritability, feeling down and hopelessness. It can also increase the use of alcohol or drugs as well as suicidal feelings.
  • eat well – a well-balanced diet during Schoolies will give you all of the vitamins and minerals needed for your body and brain to function well. It also helps with your sleeping patterns, energy levels and your overall health and wellbeing.
  • stay in touch – as E.T. says, “phone home”. Your parentals might offer to bring up a meal or pick up your washing (say yes). A familiar face might be just what you need.
  • get active – it’s a great way to boost your mood, release stress and anxiety and it also helps build your confidence and energy levels. Just a short walk on the beach or a swim can help you feel better.
  • avoid alcohol and drugs – they often leave you feeling worse than before you took them. They can amplify feelings – anxiety and irritability, sadness, unmotivated and moody. They can also affect your sense of reality.
  • know your limits - you can still have fun without pushing your body too hard. Why not have a night off the partying and stay in with a group of mates – you’ll all feel so much better for it.
  • talk to your mates or a trusted adult – you don’t have to go through this alone. Sometimes just talking about how you’re feeling can be helpful and you never know, you may not be the only one who is feeling a little low.
  • seek help – the sooner you get help, the sooner things can improve for you. Remember that it’s okay to not be okay and there are many people and services available to listen and support you without judgment.

Help is always available:

  • don’t ever be afraid to call Triple Zero (000)
  • visit the Safer Schoolies Emergency Treatment Centre on the Esplanade (Gold Coast only)
  • ask one of our Safer Schoolies Volunteers for help
  • head to your local Hospital Emergency Department
  • call Gold Coast Mental Health and Specialist Services on 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255) for 24/7 specialist mental health care, advice and support
  • call the Red Frogs 24/7 hotline on 1300 557 123
  • Headspace for free online and telephone support – 1800 650 890
  • Kids Helpline 24/7 – 1800 55 180
  • Youth Beyond Blue 24/7 – 1300 224 636

Before you go to Schoolies

  • Visit your GP:
    • if you are on any prescription medication, discuss the effects of mixing your meds with drugs and alcohol
    • if you are not feeling yourself or simply overwhelmed at the thought of going to Schoolies, talk to your GP about how you are feeling and what support is available.
  • Talk to your friends:
    • let them know if you have any existing mental health issues
    • about how you are feeling or any concerns you may have about going to Schoolies – they may also be feeling similar
    • let them know if you are on prescription medication and who they should contact for you in the event of an emergency
  • Set reminders – to take your prescription medication when you are at Schoolies in case you get caught up in all the fun
  • Connect with a trusted adult – whether it be an aunty, family friend, teacher or parent. Touch base with them before Schoolies and let them know they’re your chosen person to contact during Schoolies if you need someone to talk to.

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Friendships and expectations

When talking to past schoolies, they always mention spending time with their friends’ as their favourite thing about Schoolies. A way to value your friendships is to make sure you’re communicating with each other in the lead up to, and during Schoolies.

Make sure you’ve chatted about each other’s expectations, agree on some ground rules before you arrive and make sure you cover off your plans for the week.

Expectations

You’ve been looking forward to Schoolies all year and you’re sure it’s going to be the best week of your life. Sometimes though, when you’ve been looking forward to something for a long time, expectations can be too high and you may end up disappointed.

Friends first

Finishing school is a big deal and it is immediately followed by the excitement of Schoolies. We've all heard about friends who have had a bust-up at Schoolies. Make sure you stay friends by following these easy tips:

  • agree on the ground rules with your friends before you arrive. Discuss what behaviour you will and won't tolerate, strategies for safety and your plans for the week.
  • if you're concerned about a friend's choices or behaviour, try to talk to them about what's worrying you. It's never a good idea to talk about them behind their back.
  • if tension starts to build, remember these are your friends and they've shared important parts of your life, so give them some space.

Managing conflict

Try to resolve conflict by talking it over when you're both calm and able to focus on the problem (oh, and sober):

  • tell your friend how you feel, without blaming or accusing them.
  • allow your friend to tell their side of the story. Listen and try to understand their point of view without interrupting them.
  • violence is never acceptable. A fight at Schoolies could ruin a long-term friendship. Stay calm and go for a walk to cool down if you feel like things could get out of hand.

No matter what happens, make sure you and your friends are safe at all times. Even if you're arguing, you'll be safer together than going off on your own.

Peer group pressure

A couple of little tips to have in your back pocket if your friends are pressuring you to do something you don’t want to do during Schoolies:

  • talk to your friends before you're there about your expectations for the week
  • put some plans in place for the next day and communicate you don't want them ruined
  • use your parents as an excuse
  • move away from the situation
  • use humour to deflect the pressure
  • real friends should be respectful that everyone has different ideas on how they wish to celebrate.

And remember, always stay true to yourself. Stick to your choices and what's right for you.

Feeling homesick

For some of you, Schoolies may be the first time you‘ve been away from home. It’s also often a time of significant change and uncertainty. All of these feelings, combined with exhaustion after partying for a few days, may have you longing for your own bed and a familiar face. Know that it is okay to feel this way but more importantly, know that it’s also okay to go home early.

Tips to cope with homesickness:

  • set a regular time to call home - not only will this keep the parentals happy but will also provide you with something to look forward to every day
  • have a night off partying with your mates - a good night’s sleep coupled with a good meal can often be the best medicine
  • stay active and busy – visit the beach, theme parks or shopping centres during the day
  • see if someone from home can drop off a home cooked meal – or even pop home for one
  • know that you don’t have to stay – you can chose to go home at any time.

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Communication

Communicating with parents

Haven't spoken to the parentals about Schoolies yet? Take some time to sit down with them and come up with a plan about how you're going to keep in touch. They may be worried about your safety so having a plan will help them to rest a little easier.

It's a good idea to:

  • set a time each day for them to call you (make sure it’s not too early)
  • give them a friend’s mobile number in case yours isn’t charged
  • let them know where you’re staying and who with.

Identify a trusted adult in your life – whether it be an aunty, neighbour, parent or family friend. Identify that one special person that you trust and can talk to about your feelings.

Touch base with them before Schoolies and let them know that they’re your chosen person and ask if it’s okay you contact them if you need someone to talk to whilst you’re away. You may not need to, but it’s good to know that there’s always someone you can reach out to.

Communicating with friends

Before Schoolies:

  • talk to your friends about your expectations, your plans for the week, what behaviour you think is acceptable and how you agree to resolve any potential conflict. Don’t forget to cover finances and what you are expected to pay for.
  • let your friends know who you want them to contact on your behalf in the event of an emergency.

During Schoolies:

  • make sure your friends know where you are at all times. If you plan on leaving the Schoolies Hub early, always let your friends know.
  • always seek approval from your roommates before you bring anyone back to your accommodation.
  • check in with your friends throughout the week to see how they are going. They might need a night off from partying but didn’t feel comfortable saying so. Be a good friend and spend the night in if that’s what they need.

Who you gonna call?

As part of your Schoolies prep, make sure you have all emergency contacts saved in your phone.

We also suggest that you include:

  • your friend's parents contact details (and vice versa)
  • the number of a trusted adult that you can talk to about your feelings or situation at any time.
  • Red Frogs Hotline - 1300 557 123
  • Safer Schoolies Hotline - 13 QGOV (13 74 68) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

And remember, in the event of an emergency, don't ever risk it. Always call Triple Zero (000).

Ambulance and Paramedics are not the police – never let fear of getting in trouble stop you from calling an ambulance in an emergency. Your safety is their number one priority.

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