Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson explores the impact that mental illness can have on a person’s overall health and wellbeing, and the coping strategies that can be used to support a person. Students look at the risk and protective factors that can contribute to a person developing a mental illness, and the relationship between these factors, mental health and wellbeing, and drug and alcohol use. They will watch two stories from Life After The Oasis as an example of some of the personal and social factors that may contribute to a person using drugs and alcohol. Students then look at a range of strategies they can use to support themselves in challenging times.

Life After The Oasis is a 75 minute documentary that explores the issues, interventions and mindsets associated with youth homelessness in Australia. The film revisits characters and stories from the original 2008 documentary The Oasis and how opportunities and experiences have shaped their lives over the last ten years. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

Warning: The documentary and the clips contained in this lesson, contains explicit language, images of drug use and confronting scenes and may upset some viewers. Teachers should use their personal discretion when showing the documentary. This resource deals with the rising problem of youth homelessness and its associated social and personal issues. There may be students in your class who have experienced some of the issues discussed. You are encouraged to arrive at a set of agreements and ground rules for discussion with your class about the best way to approach the issues being covered in a way that recognises the dignity of our fellow classmates. Click here for tips on setting ground rules for class discussions and here for advice on how to handle sensitive topics and controversial issues in your classroom.

Learning intentions:

  • Identify some of the personal and social factors that may have an impact on the health and wellbeing of people.
  • Explore a range of coping strategies that can be used to help them manage stress and support their health and wellbeing.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Health and Physical Education Year 9 and 10

  • Critically analyse and apply health information from a range of sources to health decisions and situations (ACPPS095)
  • Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)

Syllabus outcomes: PDHPE5.1, PDHPE5.6, PDHPE5.7, PDHPE5.8.

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical UnderstandingPersonal and social capability

Relevant parts of Year 9 & 10 achievement standards:  Students critically analyse contextual factors that influence identities, relationships, decisions, and behaviours. Students access, synthesise and apply health information from credible sources to propose and justify responses to health situations.

Topic: Social Issues

Unit of work: Life After The Oasis – HPE

Time required: 80 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – facilitate class discussion and swap card activity.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Handling Sensitive Topics And Controversial Issues Factsheet – teacher copy (Optional). A3 Placemat Thinking Template – one per group. Risk And Protective Factors Worksheet – one per student. Coping Strategy Cards – one per group. Agree/Disagree Posters – one copy.

Keywords: mental health, wellbeing, mental illness, risk factors, protective factors, coping strategies, stress, resilience, drugs, alcohol, addiction, homelessness, homeless, The Oasis

Shark Island Productions and Cool Australia would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of The Caledonia Foundation to the development of these resources.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will ... 

  • ... explore the personal and social factors that contribute to health, in particular, mental health and wellbeing.
  • ... explore various strategies that can be used to manage stress, to support their own and others' health and wellbeing.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... identify some of the personal and social factors that may have an impact on the health and wellbeing of people. 
  • ... identify their preferred coping strategies that can be used to help them manage stress and support their health and wellbeing.

Teacher content information: On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness. This alarming statistic raises many questions about homelessness in Australia and what is being done by government and non-government institutions to combat the problem. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines a person to be homeless when they do not have suitable accommodation alter

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Australians aged 18-24 years have the highest prevalence of mental illness than any other age group.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Create your own definition of Health and Wellbeing in the space below.  

Coping Strategies

Use the following prompts to identify different coping strategies.

  • Identify a strategy that you would like to start using, and explain why you think this might support you in challenging times.






  • Identify a strategy that you could use when you have too much homework or study pressure, and explain why you think this might be helpful.







  • Identify a strategy that could be used when people around you are angry, upset or stressed, and explain why you think this might be helpful.





  • Identify a strategy that could be used if you are worried about a friend or family member who has started to withdraw.



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