MHiPS Mid-Year Conference 2022

Thursday, July 14, 2022 - 12:00 PM

For the first time all Mental Health and Wellbeing Leaders (MHWLs) from all three years of the MHiPS program gathered for a mid-year conference to celebrate and reflect on the achievements of the MHiPS pilot. 

On 22 June, one hundred MHWCs and their school principals were joined by a range of speakers including compere Prof Jim Watterston, and Assoc Prof Lisa Mckay-Brown from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), Justin McDonnell and Pat Brophy from the Victorian Department of Education and Training, and Prof Frank Oberklaid from MCRI. 

Prof Frank Oberklaid (MHiPS Project Director) presented the new Children’s Wellbeing Continuum – a tool to improve early identification of children’s needs, support conversations about children’s wellbeing and promote mental health literacy. Prof Oberklaid described the rigorous research process undertaken to develop the Continuum, demonstrated the tool and answered MHWC’s questions about how it could be used in their role. 

Assoc Prof Lisa McKay-Brown, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion (MGSE), gave a keynote address on the complexities of school refusal, which have increased since COVID-19 lockdowns. She discussed issues around truancy, exclusion, school withdrawal and refusal, and provided a range of practical tools and strategies that schools, teachers and MHWCs could use to support families and students navigating these difficult situations. The morning program concluded with the panel of speakers responding to attendee’s questions. 

An afternoon workshop with the MHWCs and the MHiPS training team began the development of a Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes Framework to support and inform the MHWC role and provide a model for inducting new MHWCs in 2023. The ideas, reflections and critiques generated will be analysed by MHiPS team, and framework development undertaken by a working group in Term 3. 

The conference followed the Victorian State Government’s announcement that the project would receive $200 million dollars in funding over the next four years, to enable state-wide expansion. This funding will enable the employment of MHWCs in 1800 state schools and low-fee non-government primary schools by 2026.  

The next MHiPS Conference will be in November as the program adapts to include new schools in 2023.  

Proudly in partnership with

MHiPS would like to acknowledge the Ian Potter Foundation, the Victorian Department of Education and Training, the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, SALT Catalyst, Bupa, the RE Ross Trust and the R.M. Ansett Trust for their support in establishing the initiative.