beyondblue has announced the redevelopment of the MindMatters initiative, which will provide secondary school staff with online resources and personal support to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of students.
The new redesigned, evidence-informed MindMatters program is launched as a new beyondblue survey of teachers and principals found that one in five said they were not confident handling mental health issues in their students.
Less than half of the 600 teachers and principals questioned by independent social research agency, TNS Social Research, agreed that it was easy to find training tools that help staff address the mental health of their students.
About 50 per cent also said the demands of teaching meant they didn’t have time to attend to the mental health needs of their students.
The Commonwealth Government, Department of Health provided funding to beyondblue to redevelop the MindMatters framework and work with the Principals Australia Institute to sign up 1,500 schools across Australia over the next three years.
beyondblue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC said the new MindMatters initiative enables secondary schools to make mental health and wellbeing a priority, by giving them online training, which is manageable for teachers who are already time-poor, and accessible easy-to-implement strategies.
“MindMatters is like a support scaffold that secondary schools can use to create their own unique mental health strategy – choosing the parts that they wish to implement and keeping the best of what they already have in place,” he said.
“The new MindMatters program is in line with recommendations from the National Mental Health Commission’s Review of Mental Health Programs and Services, which advocated for prevention and early intervention programs.”
beyondblue Board Director The Hon. Julia Gillard said the MindMatters initiative was based on the principle that the best mental health strategy is one that prevents issues from arising in the first place.
“I am very pleased to join Jeff in launching this contemporary program which has been developed in close collaboration with the education sector and the mental health sector. Working with schools to improve the awareness and engagement skills of teachers and other professionals in our schools in addressing mental health issues, will help protect mental health for younger Australians from all walks of life,” she said.
“Evidence suggests half of mental health conditions emerge by age 14, so this work with impressionable young people in the school environment is vitally important.”
The four key components of the MindMatters mental health framework are: Positive School Community; Student Skills for Resilience; Parents and Families; Support for students experiencing mental health difficulties.
MindMatters fosters a whole school approach that takes a big picture view where everyone – staff, students, parents and service providers – has a part to play in shaping the school culture through their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours around mental health.
For more information and to register for MindMatters, visit http://www.mindmatters.edu.au/