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Distance education for mental health

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Distance education for mental health

Casual scribe

Distance education for mental health

I’m hoping to connect with parents who have teenage children doing distance education for mental health reasons.  


My daughter is heading into VCE next year and at this point in time I don’t think she will make it through. School has always been an issue but the last 3 years have been particularly bad.  Last year she was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder, panic attacks and depression.  My usually happy, chatty and argumentative girl becomes more and more withdrawn as the each term progresses until she no longer attends.  Watching her spiral down into a depressive state is heart breaking and scary. 


Exams send her into an absolute tailspin.


We are considering distance education for her final 2 years and I’m feeling completely lost - I wish we had started earlier rather than facing it now in her VCE years.  She is very bright and generally works well from home, but needs support. 


We have run the gamut of Doctors, Psychologists and Sleep specialists. 


I’d love to hear how parents/teens managed the social aspect with distance education.

She will need to attend school and/or a drama academy to complete her Drama subject, so I’m hoping that this will keep her in touch with her peers.


Can anyone attest to the online support for distance Ed?


This decision feels so huge, I’m tied up in knots. 

Super contributor

Re: Distance education for mental health

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Hi @Chocolate, thanks for sharing your story here. I am sorry to hear about everything that has been going on for you and your daughter. It sounds like there has been a lot of struggle and it is so difficult to make the best decision but it sounds like you really putting your daughter's well-being first. How lucky she is to have someone like you for support. I can't imagine how big of a decision this is for you and how important it is. There is a previous thread on this topic here but I will also tag the members of the thread for support @Shep96 @taokat @sunflowermom @motherbear. Have you got any other supports that you are engaging at this time? Here to listen Smiley Happy

Casual scribe

Re: Distance education for mental health



Admittedly it took some time for me to realise the issue was bigger than just having a stubborn child - sometimes she is a force of nature.


We have found a psychologist that she works well with but she finds the process very frustrating.  To be honest, sometimes I think I get more out of the sessions than she does.  


I really appreciate being heard.  It’s not a taboo topic and discuss it with friends but a lot of people find it hard to believe that my daughter has these issues. She acts and sings and loves to perform.  She is outspoken and passionate about her beliefs.  School is just not a happy place. 

Super star contributor

Re: Distance education for mental health

Hi @Chocolate, I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s mental health issues and struggles with school. You sound like a really loving parent who has tried many avenues for help for your daughter. It can be so worrying when our kids stop attending school, but I was really relieved to find out my daughter isn’t the only one! 


My daughter’s now 16 and did the end of Year 9 then Year 10 via distance education due to mental illness and school refusal. The support from teachers was fabulous, and although my girl wouldn’t attendthem, the school held study groups, had social days etc where students could meet and socialise. 

Teachers kept in contact via phone and email with my daughter, and her head teacher rang me every now and then to give me an update or if any assessments were late. If my daughter wasn’t managing because of her mental health issues they worked with us really compassionately and I found all the teachers to be so understanding with teens like mine. 


My daughter lost all but one of her friends from high school, however she did keep up with tennis once a week and enjoys her friends and social time there. She also worked at McDonalds for a while and made new friends there as they employ so many young people. 

It’s great that your daughter would still attend drama classes, and if she can still catch up with friends after school or on weekends, hopefully that will maintain her friendships. 


It does feel like a big decision, but remember that if you choose to go the distance ed route, if it’s not working for your daughter for whatever reason, she can always go back to school. My daughter had a dual enrolment for many months with her local high school and the distance ed school, so you could look at doing the same while you trial distance ed.


All the best! Smiley Happy