Be You mental health initiative launched today
A major initiative, designed to address mental health in schools and early learning services launched today, integrating and expanding on existing mental health initiatives, such as ResponseAbility and KidsMatter Early Childhood.
Be You is a collection of online training and resources, backed by 70 expert staff on the ground, to support principals, teachers and early learning professionals. Funded by the Australian Government, Be You aims to support educators to nurture the mental health and well-being of children in their care by:
- Giving them flexible training and clear information, based on solid research, that helps them recognise and respond confidently to emerging mental health issues in their early learning service or schools;
- Offering tips about how to build resilience in children and young people;
- Reviewing mental health-related programs and placing them in one, easy-to-use online directory;
- Involving families and carers in their child’s education and wellbeing;
- Giving advice to educators about how they can support their own wellbeing; and,
- Providing 70 consultants to guide schools and early learning services through the available resources.
Be You will bring together educators, parents, support staff and students themselves to develop and roll- out action plans tailored to the needs of each school or early learning service, and educators can claim completion of Be You learning modules towards their professional development requirements.
Developed by Beyond Blue in partnership with delivery partners Early Childhood Australia and headspace, Be You is available for free to all 24,000 early learning services, primary and secondary schools in Australia, and brings together five evidence-based but disconnected programs – KidsMatter Early Learning, KidsMatter Primary, MindMatters, ResponseAbility and headspace School Support. As a result, for the first time Australia will have a single, integrated initiative that encompasses a child’s entire education, including the important transition points.
This approach was recommended by the National Mental Health Commission’s landmark 2014 review, Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities. The Commission reinforced the importance of the early years, and the importance of education settings in prevention and early intervention.
“Providing educators with the tools to foster resilience, and social and emotional wellbeing, is an investment in everyone’s future because mentally healthy kids learn better,” Beyond Blue Chair Julia Gillard said.
Early Childhood Australia CEO Sam Page said it was critical to use the years before formal schooling to build the foundations of lifelong mental health and wellbeing in children, saying “Early childhood educators, teachers and leaders can work together with families and the community to support children to develop their sense of self, empathy and communication skills which can be important ‘protective factors’ in later years.”