Beyondblue to Re-develop Mental Health Program for Schools
29 July 2013 at 1:11 pm
Mental health Not for Profit, beyondblue has been appointed by the Federal Government’s Department of Health and Ageing to lead a national mental health initiative for secondary schools.
The MindMatters program was first launched in 2000 and will be updated to meet the changing mental health needs of Australian school communities through to mid-2016.
beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO said being appointed to the MindMatters leadership role was a strong endorsement of beyondblue’s work in managing the Australian primary schools mental health initiative KidsMatter and coordinating the work of the KidsMatter project partners – Principals Australia Institute and the Australian Psychological Society.
“KidsMatter Primary has already been rolled out to over 1300 schools and has been an outstanding success,” she said.
“Evaluation of the KidsMatter initiative shows that in primary schools where it was implemented, children had fewer mental health difficulties and their coping skills for managing stress also improved.
“Parents and teachers said they were also better able to support children experiencing difficulties.
“Now we plan to extend what we have learnt with KidsMatter into the MindMatters initiative,” Carnell said.
“We know that student mental health difficulties are common during the teenage years, with one in seven secondary students experiencing mental health difficulties such as depression and anxiety.
“And secondary school staff members are increasingly recognising that good mental health is an important factor in determining student success.”
beyondblue General Manager of Research, Child and Youth programs, Dr Brian Graetz has been involved with KidsMatter since 2005 and played a key role in developing this program led by beyondblue.
Dr Graetz said he was looking forward to leading the re-development of the MindMatters initiative which will focus on giving Australian secondary school communities access to the best available evidence-based training, programs and resources to strengthen student health and wellbeing.
“Students who experience mental health difficulties often struggle with the demands of school,” Graetz said.
“They’re not able to focus in class, complete assignments, study for exams or maintain friendships.
“If the difficulties continue over time, they have poorer long-term prospects, including fewer employment opportunities.
“Teachers notice when a student is distressed or having ongoing emotional problems, but often they don’t know how best to support that young person or where help is available.”
The re-developed MindMatters initiative will be free to all Australian secondary school communities and will start in 2014, with the ambitious target of reaching 1500 schools by 2016.
The initiative will include training and programs for teachers, students and parents.
Teachers will learn how to recognise and support students with mental health difficulties.
Students will learn how to manage stress and become resilient, how to recognise the signs of mental health difficulties and where to get help and parents will gain information on current and emerging youth mental health issues and where to access support.
The Government said the program development will see beyondblue work closely with the Principals Australia Institute in the redevelopment and delivery of MindMatters to ensure it meets the needs of school communities.