26 September 2023

65 high schools add mental health to classes

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The Minister for Education, Training and Skills has released the list of state schools to be allocated a specialist mental health practitioner this year to help the State’s young people in government high schools.

The new service will be available at up to 65 high schools, area schools and R-12 schools this year and will see mental health practitioners based in the schools to support young people deal with mental health concerns.

According to the Minister for Education, Training and Skills, Blair Boyer, research has revealed that mental health concerns were most likely to emerge in lower secondary years, so it was important to support young people when they are most likely to need it.

“This investment in mental health and wellbeing will see a workforce including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and other learning support specialists in place to help young people tackle issues early,” Mr Boyer said.

“The service will work collaboratively with students and families, education staff, other support service providers and external agencies to support young people in improving their psychological and emotional health,” he said.

Principal of Para Hills High School, Alina Page, said the increased sense of isolation caused by COVID and the use of social media had required a different response and addition to that provided by teachers.

“The school had an excellent range of supports already on site, and our experience in the pilot program was that having this proactive and substantial service on site was valuable for the whole school,” Ms Page said.

“Our fantastic practitioner is not only providing support to individuals but working across the school to support children gaining skills that go beyond academic subjects,” she said.

Principal Practitioner of the Schools Mental Health Service, Lisa Doyle, said the School Mental Health Service was well positioned to fill a gap in services and, importantly, allow early intervention.

“A key strength of this program will be the delivery of services to young people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties or those with emerging mental health concerns,” Ms Doyle said.

“By being placed within a school community, we can provide an accessible and responsive service to those students in need,” Ms Doyle said.

A full list of the schools taking part in the program can be accessed at this PS News link.

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