Sup­port for stu­dents

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Education Week 2019 -

The State Gov­ern­ment has started rolling out a project to place mental-health pro­fes­sion­als in Vic­to­rian pub­lic schools to give stu­dents more sup­port and help re­duce the num­ber of young Vic­to­ri­ans tak­ing their own life.

Premier Daniel An­drews, Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion James Mer­lino and Min­is­ter for Mental Health Martin Fo­ley an­nounced the first schools to re­ceive sup­port un­der the Mental Prac­ti­tion­ers in Schools project.

The $51.2-mil­lion pro­gram will start in 33 sec­ondary schools in term three in Mel­bourne’s south­east­ern sub­urbs – from Al­bert Park Col­lege to Frankston High.

In term four it will ex­pand to 21 sec­ondary school cam­puses in the state’s south­west – from Gee­long High School through to Co­lac Sec­ondary Col­lege.

The pro­gram will em­ploy more than 190 qual­i­fied mental-health pro­fes­sion­als across the state, in­clud­ing psy­chol­o­gists, so­cial work­ers and mental health nurses.

The Mental Health Prac­ti­tion­ers will of­fer coun­selling and early in­ter­ven­tion ser­vices, as well as co-or­di­nat­ing sup­port for stu­dents with com­plex needs, link­ing in with broader al­lied com­mu­nity and health ser­vices.

Ev­ery gov­ern­ment sec­ondary school will re­ceive be­tween one and five days a week of sup­port from a men­tal­health prac­ti­tioner de­pend­ing on its size, re­quire­ments and ex­ist­ing wel­fare pro­grams.

The State Gov­ern­ment will also part­ner with Ory­gen Na­tional Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Youth Mental Health to pro­mote stu­dent well­be­ing within sec­ondary schools.

This pro­gram is de­signed to build on the gov­ern­ment’s $65.5-mil­lion in­vest­ment in stu­dent health and well­be­ing projects in all schools, in­clud­ing a Vic­to­rian Anti-bul­ly­ing and Mental Health Ini­tia­tive, a School­wide Pos­i­tive Behaviour Sup­port pro­gram, as well as in­creased in­vest­ment in al­lied health and nurs­ing ser­vices.

Premier An­drews said he un­der­stood cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the trauma of mental health in schools.

“As a par­ent, I know the dread you feel when you chil­dren tell you about kids at school hurt­ing them­selves or tak­ing their own life – that’s why we’re giv­ing stu­dents pro­fes­sional sup­port when they need it most,” he said.

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