Protecting our children’s mental health and wellbeing

Joint Media Release
  • Minister for Education and Training
  • Minister for Health
  • Minister for Aged Care
  • Minister for Sport

Youth mental health will be a key focus as part of the Turnbull Government’s bold reforms with a new single school-based initiative covering early childhood through the end of secondary school to be announced today. 

Minister for Health Sussan Ley and Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham today announced the Mental Health in Education initiative would bring together several existing programmes to create a single comprehensive service available to children and young people.

Minister Birmingham said the reform would improve outcomes through better mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention.

“From 1 July 2016, teachers and other staff working with children will be provided with training and resources to create a supportive environment,” Mr Birmingham said. 

“Schools, teachers and classmates play a vital role as young people are mentally, physically and emotionally developing and it is critical that there are appropriate supports in place to ensure student’s mental health wellbeing.

The reform package is part of the Government’s response to the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Programmes and Services, which was critical of the existing mental health system.

Minister Ley said the initiative was necessary to try and prevent children falling through the cracks.

“Studies show that a worrying number of young people are experiencing mental health problems, with many simply not getting the help they need,” Ms Ley said. 

“This is not acceptable as we know problems not addressed early in life can then become much worse, possibly affecting someone for many more years than it should.

“This new integrated programme will provide schools with systems and support to recognise, prevent or reduce the impact of mental health problems when they emerge.”

Complementing the programme in schools is a new National Workforce Support initiative, which will assist mental health professionals and other services who work with young people to identify, support and refer children at risk of mental illness. For more information, go to www.health.gov.au or www.education.gov.au.       

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