Be You’s educator wellbeing program helps education professionals truly thrive
The Sector > Workforce > Advocacy > Be You’s educator wellbeing program helps education professionals truly thrive

Be You’s educator wellbeing program helps education professionals truly thrive

by Freya Lucas

April 21, 2023

While many in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector know of Be You, and the way it supports children and young people with their mental health and wellbeing, fewer professionals are aware of the role Be You plays in supporting the wellbeing and mental health of professionals in the education sector. 


What is Be You? 


Be You is the national mental health and wellbeing initiative that provides an end-to-end approach for early learning services, school-age care services, primary schools and secondary schools across Australia to support the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people from birth to 18 years.The initiative develops educators’ mental health literacy, providing the knowledge, understanding and skills to promote the mental health of children and young people. Be You is delivered by Beyond Blue, in collaboration with Early Childhood Australia and headspace.


The aim of Be You is to support early learning services, school-age care services and schools to develop a positive, inclusive and resilient learning community where every child, young person, educator and family can achieve their best possible mental health.


Be You Consultants guide registered early learning services and schools to implement a whole learning community approach to mental health and wellbeing. This includes helping educators apply Be You resources in their learning communities and connect with like-minded educators. They also help learning communities prepare for – and respond to – critical incidents, such as natural disasters, family violence or the death of a student, staff member or family member.


Educator support 


“We’re passionate about giving all educators the capacity to truly thrive,”  said Geri Sumpter, Head of Be You Delivery.

“Be You is built on flexibility, and on the understanding that services are all unique, and have differing needs when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.” 

“We know that for children and young people to be safe and supported while they learn,” Geri continued. “They need access to caring adults who are well supported with their own mental health and wellbeing, and who have the tools, resources and support they need to ensure they are bringing the best of what they have to work with them each day.” 


For Amsha Nahdid, Director of Bright Sun Family Day Care, and her educational leader Mariam Shahid, the flexibility of the Be You initiative, and the way in which their Be You Consultant Maria Heenan recognises and responds to the unique needs of both their multilingual team and the construct of family day care as a whole, has been incredibly welcome. 


One “simple but powerful” strategy Maria has worked on with the pair is creating space for conversations. After talking with Maria to understand the importance of deep listening and connection in creating relationships with the educators in their team, Amsha and Mariam have begun to add meaningful questions and conversations into their site visits. 


“We ask questions about the blessings they’ve felt, how they’ve celebrated happy moments, the challenging moments they’ve experienced and how they overcame those challenges,” Mariam explained.


“It gives our educators an opportunity to reflect and it also gives us the opportunity to establish a relationship with our educators, so that they feel they can open up.” 


“A lot of the things Amsha and Mariam speak about in relation to Be You revolve around the power of conversation,” Maria added. 

“It’s the knowledge from Be You that helps them have those conversations. Knowing how to frame them, what to ask and then what to do in response.” 

Holistic support which is tailored to ECEC 


As well as accredited online professional learning opportunities, participating Be You Learning Communities receive access to tools and resources, opportunities to connect with other education professionals and mental health experts, articles for discussion and reflection, and access to a dedicated Be You Consultant who works with each setting to determine the unique needs of the service, and the best path forward to meet them. 


For Educator Tash Keleher, who works at outside school hours care (OSHC) service Green Point in Tasmania, having access to these resources has facilitated a profound shift in thinking when it comes to transitions, and to supporting the children in her care. 


One child in particular – Owen – really struggled when it came to communicating the range of emotions he had when it came to transitions. Because he didn’t have the tools to articulate his feelings and to self regulate, he presented with some big dysregulation moments, where he would run from educators and from the service, hide, or become very aggressive. 


When the service analysed the patterns of his behaviour, they soon saw that transitions were some of the biggest triggers. Early into his learning day, Owen had to separate from his parents, settle into before school care, move on to a bus, settle onto the bus, and then transition into school. 


Through participating in the Be You initiative, Tash and others in the team have learnt more about self regulation, and how this is not an innate skill that people are born with – it’s something they have to learn. 


Owen is now happy and settled, handling transitions with Tash by his side, guiding him through self regulation techniques, and encouraging him to use imagination and communication to handle tricky moments. 


Be You helps educators to support themselves, and others


For each of the 23 individual services that make up Discovery Early Learning, inviting Be You into their early learning setting was a significant development in the way in which the team approached not only the children’s mental health and wellbeing, but also their own. 


While each of the services is unique, they operate under one mantra Happy educators make happy children, and happy children mean happy families.


For CEO Jo Walsh, one-on-one relationships are integral to this mantra becoming reality. 


“When you are at your best, you can give your best to children,” she explained. 

“Educators have a very stressful job. If we don’t have mentally healthy and happy educators, they’re not their very best when they’re working with children. So supporting them in that mental health and wellbeing space is our priority. That’s where Be You comes in.” 

Jo and her team have been able to draw on the Be You Implementation Reflection Tool to inform and celebrate Discovery’s success and focus on strengths and priorities. 


The BETLS Observation Tool, Disability Inclusion Guide and Transition Fact Sheets have also been crucial resources for Discovery. 


Most recently, the team has used Be You’s Mental Health Continuum to develop its strategic approach to mentally healthy workplaces. 


Regardless of where a service is in terms of understanding and developing a response to mental health and wellbeing, for educators, for children and to support families, Be You has resources and supports to meet that need. 


Be You costs nothing for services to access, and is fully funded by the Australian Government. 


In early May, Be You will hold the Be You Virtual Conference, a free two-day event, where key topics and practical strategies to promote mental health and wellbeing in learning communities will be explored.


To learn more about how Be You can support your service, visit the dedicated website, email [email protected]  

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