education.vic.gov.au

Advice

The purpose of this page is to give an overview of the role of schools in promoting the mental health and wellbeing of students and to outline where relevant guidance and programs can be found.

Summary

  • Schools provide a positive and nurturing environment for students to develop confidence, social skills and healthy life habits.
  • Schools also play a role in identifying signs of mental health issues, providing early support, and referring students to health services.
  • The department has created the Schools Mental Health Fund and evidence-based Menu, which aims to give schools the confidence to select, purchase and implement mental health and wellbeing programs that best meet the needs of their students, while also connecting with specialist services where required.
  • The Mental Health in Primary Schools Program has been expanded in recognition of the important role schools play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. By 2026, every government and low-fee non-government primary school will receive funding to employ a mental health and wellbeing leader (MHWL) to implement a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing.
  • The Mental Health Practitioners in Secondary Schools initiative provides vital support to all Victorian government secondary and specialist schools. Every Victorian government secondary school and specialist school with secondary-aged enrolments is now funded to employ an ongoing, school-based MHP.
  • The Mental health and wellbeing toolkitExternal Link has been developed to support schools to improve the mental health and wellbeing of students. It links to existing department resources, guidance and programs.

Details

Schools Mental Health Fund and Menu

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 and Menu.

Schools will receive funding to purchase items from the Schools Mental Health Menu. The Menu is an evidence-based list of endorsed programs, staff and other supports that will be used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of students in line with the individual needs and priorities of the school.

For detailed guidance and further information, refer to the department’s Mental Health Fund and Menu Policy.

The Mental Health in Primary Schools Program

The department has expanded the Mental Health in Primary Schools Program in recognition of the important role schools play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The Program will be implemented across Victoria over a staged rollout between 2023 to 2026, to provide funding for every government and low-fee non-government primary schools to employ a mental health and wellbeing leader (MHWL), with funding allocation based on school campus enrolments.

MHWLs are employed as classroom teachers and work across the school to implement a whole-school approach to mental health and wellbeing for students, staff, and families based on a broad knowledge of the needs of the school community.

MHWLs will receive evidence-based training in mental health literacy, supporting student need, and building school capacity, and will receive ongoing professional development through communities of practice. The training program is developed and facilitated by the University of Melbourne.

For detailed guidance and further information, refer to the Guidance tab: Mental Health in Primary Schools Program.

Mental Health Practitioners in Secondary Schools

The Mental Health Practitioners (MHP) in Secondary Schools initiative provides vital support to all Victorian government secondary and specialist schools. The MHP initiative promotes positive mental health and wellbeing and address mental health concerns where they arise. Every Victorian government secondary school and specialist school with secondary-aged enrolments is now funded to employ an ongoing, school-based MHP.

The MHP role provides a valuable extra resource to school's existing wellbeing teams and supports schools by:

  • contributing to whole-school approaches to mental health prevention and promotion
  • providing direct counselling support and other early intervention services to students
  • coordinating supports for students with complex needs.

For further information, refer to the department’s Mental health practitioners in secondary schoolsExternal Link webpage.

Mental health and wellbeing toolkit

The Mental health and wellbeing toolkitExternal Link includes practical and accessible information for schools, parents and students on wide range of topics to support student mental health and wellbeing.

The toolkit includes guidance on:

  • wellbeing in the classroom
  • wellbeing planning and leadership
  • school-wide mental health and wellbeing promotion
  • early intervention and cohort specific support wellbeing support for students
  • crisis and targeted support for students with the most complex mental health needs
  • mental health practitioners in secondary and specialist schools
  • Headspace counselling for secondary students.
How to identify signs of mental health issues, provide early support, refer students to health services and provide a positive and nurturing environment for students to manage their condition

Reviewed 16 January 2023

Policy last updated

6 December 2022

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Mental Health Reform Unit

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