Good mental health is essential for learning and life. Growing evidence shows that children who are mentally healthy are better able to meet life’s challenges, are better learners, and have stronger relationships.
The good news is that most Australian children experience good mental health. Schools, parents and families can also take concrete, positive steps to help enhance children’s mental health, wellbeing and learning outcomes.
KidsMatter Primary is a national initiative for primary schools that focuses on building and sustaining children’s mental health and wellbeing. It is widely implemented across Australia, with more than 2000 schools currently part of the KidsMatter network.
“When we focus on the wellbeing of our kids we see great results not only in student behaviour, but also in their ability to learn at school,” says Jeremy Hurley, KidsMatter Primary National Director.
KidsMatter is a whole-school framework that can be adapted to local contexts and is shaped by principals, teachers and wider school communities.
“We focus on what we call a whole-school approach. If you set the foundations right in primary school, kids carry that with them into secondary school and throughout their lives,” Hurley says.
“If we teach kids the right foundation blocks – like how to be resilient, self-aware and empathetic – we set them up for life.”
KidsMatter covers four areas where primary schools can improve children’s health, and minimise risk factors. These four areas make up the training available through KidsMatter:
- Building a positive school community
- Social and emotional learning for students
- Working with parents and carers
- Helping children with mental health difficulties.
The professional learning in schools is spread across two to three years. During this time, KidsMatter provides a range of evidence-based strategies, resources and support to suit different schools’ needs.
KidsMatter Primary is a collaborative initiative between beyondblue, the Australian Psychological Society and Principals Australia Institute, with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and beyondblue.
Learn more about KidsMatter
If your school would like to find out more, start or continue its KidsMatter journey, events are held regularly throughout Australia.
Visit www.kidsmatter.edu.au/primary for more information.