Nicola Bone, a Brisbane high school teacher founded Sound Off for Schools in 2016 to bring her passion for well-being, mental health and the practice of mindfulness, meditation and Yoga into her classroom.

During 12 years of classroom practice in Brisbane schools, Nicola began to witness an alarming number of students facing the crippling challenges of mental illness; stress, depression, anxiety and many other mood disorders. Some days, she would observe students completely lose control of executive function, as a result of their crippling condition, unable to concentrate, hold attention or take in the learning experiences afforded to them.

Watching a young person suffer every day and miss out on the most vital years of learning and formation was heartbreaking to her. Coupled with the tragic loss of three dear friends to mental illness and a burning desire to understand the horrifying mental illness epidemic in Australia, she enrolled in a Master of Public Health (Epidemiology) in 2016 and also completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training to begin researching the effects of mindfulness practices on learning and mental health.

From this, the Sound Off for Schools Program was born – a Silent Revolution sweeping across schools currently in Queensland. Students wear wireless headphones to hear low ambient music and the teacher’s instruction to guide them through mindfulness practices and movements. Their attention is completely captured in the present moment to give them the opportunity to witness their breathing, thought habits while moving their physical body. The Program has seen incredible success and recognition amongst educators and students and in the last 10 months has reached more than 3800 young people. Nicola is on a mission to see mindfulness practices used in every classroom, every day.

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