13 May 2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Susanne is helping to fight anxiety in the midst of Covid-19

Posted in Bring Hope / Chaplaincy

COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. In this time of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and our chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope to find out more.

Chappy Susanne from Burnside State School has been a shining light in her community through this ongoing crisis. With a background as a trained counsellor and psychotherapist, Chappy Susanne is very aware of the mental health toll things like COVID19 can have on a person.

“Even though I work in a primary school, we are seeing more and more students with anxiety. As a chaplain, it’s so important to be educated about social media and other things that are going on in the students’ lives so that we can connect with them, and they can connect with us,” says Chappy Susanne.

“Running anti-anxiety programs that touch on deep breathing and stretching is a great way to teach both students and parents how to handle anxiety when it comes.”

“It’s important that our young people have coping tools and strategies, so that when they go to high school they have something they can implement into everyday life. One of the reasons I got into chaplaincy was because I wanted to work in the preventive space and have the opportunity to work with the whole family.”

Chappy Susanne’s passion and skills to support her school community is something her principal is so grateful for. 

“Chappy Susanne is a crucial member of our school community. She demonstrates kindness, care and compassion for our students, staff and school community,” says Principal Monique.

The partnership goes both ways, as Chappy Susanne is mutually grateful for the support and trust of her Principal.

“My Principal is amazing – she’s really big on mental health and looking after the wellness of staff and families. She has a perspective of kindness and warmth, and the motto that ‘family comes first’,” says Chappy Susanne.

Chappy Susanne and Principal Monique outside their school

“In this COVID19 environment, I’ve been spending a lot of time supporting the staff. There’s a lot of pressure and expectations on the teachers and many have been feeling overwhelmed. I’ve been calling families to check in on parents and students – it’s good to let them know you’re thinking of them and that they’re not alone.”

“For the kids that have been coming into school, it’s been my job to give them hope and talk with them about their big questions. It’s in times of trauma that we need the most support, and where we start to ask some of those big questions in life. As a chaplain, I’m there to shine light and give people hope in the uncertainty.”

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others – visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.

Sarah Moore

Media and Communications Administrator

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