A pilot program from the Department for Education has been launched to improve the wellbeing of public school students with a new mental health service.
Commending the concept, the Minister for Education, John Gardner said the pilot would provide greater access to early intervention support when mental health concerns first emerged.
Mr Gardner said that as part of the service, trained mental health practitioners would be based in schools to provide individual advice and support for children and young people with early signs of mental health concerns.
“They will then coordinate referrals to external services if more intensive support is required,” he said.
Mr Gardner said that while the mental health practitioners would not provide clinical diagnosis or treatment, they would assist and check in on students experiencing more serious mental health issues when returning to school, and work with leaders, teachers and families to raise awareness and build community understanding of mental health.
He said the service would complement existing services provided in schools, such as student wellbeing leaders and student support services.
The Minister said the service would be piloted in the following schools from Term Three this year:
Le Fevre – Ocean View College and Le Fevre High School;
River Hub – Seaford Secondary College and local primary schools;
Hollywood Lakes and Gardens and Montague – Para Hills High School and Parafield Gardens High School;
Lower Mid-North and Mid-North Clare – Balaklava High School and Clare High School; and
Pirie and Upper Mid-North – John Pirie Secondary College and local primary schools.
He said following the pilot, the service would be further refined, ready to scale up to more areas in 2023.
Mr Gardner said 55 new roles would be created for mental health professionals to be employed as part of the scaled-up initiative, working across a number of schools, with centralised supervision and support.
Further information about the Department’s pilot program can be accessed at this PS News link.