Podcast: Talking Teaching
- Thursday, May 12, 2022 - 12:30 PM
In this episode of the Talking Teaching podcast, Prof Frank Oberklaid, MHiPS Director, and Dr Georgia Dawson, MHiPS Training Manager, speak with Prof Jim Watterston, Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, about a range of topics related to children’s mental health in schools.
Prof Watterson and Prof Oberklaid kick off the conversation by exploring the advocacy and policy efforts that have paved the way for a program like Mental Health in Primary Schools (MHiPS). Prof Oberklaid says that for many years it was challenging to get children’s mental health on the policy radar.
Though, a variety of factors and efforts, such as COVID-19 and the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health, the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, and the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy have given child mental health momentum.
“Now, if you ask teachers about child mental health, they'll identify it as really important to learning. And what's more, they'll say it's part of their responsibility to at least identify children who are struggling and trying and put in place some scaffolding or some support for them,” Prof Oberklaid said.
However, not all teachers feel confident identifying children who are struggling, and schools don’t necessarily have a system or the support to address the needs of children once they’ve been identified. Prof Oberklaid says, that’s where MHiPS comes in, to “increase the capacity of the schools and teachers to do that.”
Prof Watterson then speaks to Dr Georgia Dawson about how the MHiPS program works in practice to build the capacity of teachers and schools to identify and respond to children’s mental health, including the training program, the MHWC role and the Communities of Practice.