27 September 2023

Primary schools to have mental health help

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Every Government primary school in Victoria is to employ a Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader by 2026 to implement a whole-school approach to wellbeing following the expansion of a program in the Department of Education and Training (DET).

Announced by the Minister for Education, Natalie Hutchins, DET’s Mental Health in Primary Schools program is to be expanded to every Government and low-fee non-government primary school across the State.

“It means by 2026, every school will employ a Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader to implement a whole-school approach to wellbeing,” Ms Hutchins said.

“This will support individual students, help teachers better identify and support at-risk students, and build relationships and referral pathways to local mental health services,” she said.

“The program builds on a successful pilot with 100 primary schools across the State.”

Ms Hutchins said more than 95 per cent of Mental Health and Wellbeing Leaders involved in the pilot reported the program improved their school’s capacity to support students’ mental health and wellbeing needs.

She said the program would be rolled out in stages from Term 1 next year, with the first stage to include schools in Barwon, Brimbank Melton, Hume Moreland, Goulburn, and Outer Gippsland.

The Minister said schools in Western Melbourne, Mallee, Ovens Murray, and Southern Melbourne would receive a Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader from Term 2, 2024, while schools in Wimmera South West, Loddon Campaspe, Outer East Melbourne, and Inner Gippsland would get their Mental Health Leader from Term 1, 2025.

Ms Hutchins said the last stage of the rollout, from Term 1, 2026, included schools in Central Highlands, North East Melbourne, Inner East Melbourne, and Bayside Peninsula.

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