Support for students
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.