The Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI), along with partners at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) developed the MHiPS project to help build the capacity of Victorian primary schools to support the mental health and wellbeing of students.
Schools are an ideal platform for promoting children’s mental health, identifying early signs of mental health concerns, and supporting referrals to community-based mental health services when necessary. However, many teachers report being uncertain about being able to identify students with mental health issues and communicating with parents and children about mental health.
- Understand the current mental health and wellbeing needs in Victorian primary schools
- Design and implement a new school-based Mental Health and Wellbeing Leader (MHWL) role
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the MHWL role in helping to address children’s mental health issues
Our research has identified the needs of schools to be able to better support student mental health:
- Upskilling of staff through systemic, evidence-based professional development
- Additional training for teachers to assist them in identifying and navigating mental health issues
- More mental health and wellbeing staff to relieve the burden on teachers by directly supporting students with mental health concerns and their families
- Systemic changes to prioritise wellbeing, enabling schools to invest in preventative mental health support
- Making social-emotional learning an integral part of all school curricula.