The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on how schools can plan for and implement the Schools Mental Health Fund and Menu initiative to support student mental health and wellbeing.
- In recognition of the important role schools play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, the department has created the Schools Mental Health Fund (Fund) and evidence-based Schools Mental Health Menu (Menu).
- The Fund is underpinned by the evidence-based Menu. The Menu a list of endorsed programs, staff and other supports that schools can use to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their students in line with the individual needs of their school.
- The department has developed a School Mental Health Planning Tool to support and simplify schools’ decision-making processes when planning their mental health and wellbeing interventions from the Menu.
- To support schools to purchase items off the Menu, schools will receive funding from the newly established Fund.
- The Fund will roll out to all government schools based on Area. The roll out commenced in Term 3, 2022 to rural and regional schools, and will be fully implemented by Term 1, 2024.
- Refer to the for detailed information and resources on the Fund and Menu, including guidance on the funding model, the categories of mental health supports available to schools and the School Mental Health Planning Tool.
The Victorian Government has invested $217.8 million over 4 years to support student mental health and wellbeing, including approximately $200 million over 4 years and $86 million ongoing to create a Schools Mental Health Fund (the Fund). Underpinning the Fund is the evidence-based Schools Mental Health Menu (the Menu).
Recommendation 17 of the landmark 2021 recognised the important role schools play in providing universal support for the mental health and wellbeing of young Victorians. The Royal Commission acknowledged that mental health and wellbeing is an important issue for all students. In response, the department established the Fund which focuses on positive mental health promotion and whole-school approaches. Underpinning the Fund is the evidence-based Menu.
Schools Mental Health Menu
The Menu is a list of endorsed programs, staff and resources that can support schools to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their students in line with their established priorities. The Menu helps schools to make informed choices on how to spend their funding.
The Menu is designed to give schools confidence to identify programs, staff and resources from the Menu that improve the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of their students.
Providers included on the Menu meet a range of criteria, including:
- evidence of program effectiveness in supporting student mental health and wellbeing outcomes
- alignment with department priorities
- ease of implementation by schools
- availability of providers
The Menu includes programs, staff and resources across 3 tiers of support that were externally assessed for how well they support student mental health and wellbeing, ensuring schools can access a range of supports to meet their needs.
The 3 tiers are:
- Tier 1: Positive mental health promotion
- Tier 2: Early intervention and cohort specific support
- Tier 3: Targeted support
Schools are encouraged to have a strong and sustained focus on Tier 1 to promote student wellbeing actively and to reduce risk factors that lead to poor mental health outcomes.
The Fund will roll out to all government schools based on Area between 2022 and 2024, with rural and regional schools prioritised, in line with the Royal Commission’s findings.
In Term 3, 2022, schools in Barwon, Central Highlands, Goulburn, Inner Gippsland, Loddon Campaspe, Mallee, Outer Gippsland, Ovens Murray, Wimmera South West received their annual funding.
The roll out schedule is:
- Term 1, 2023: Brimbank Melton, North Eastern Melbourne, Outer Eastern Melbourne, Southern Melbourne
- Term 1, 2024: Bayside Peninsula, Hume Merri-bek, Inner Eastern Melbourne, Western Melbourne.
The Menu is publicly available and provides Catholic and independent school sectors with insight into effective evidence-based programs and resources to support student mental health and wellbeing.
Reviewed 20 June 2023