Mental health initiative to support regional students - Education Matters Magazine
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Mental health initiative to support regional students

Secondary students in Ovens Murray and Mallee will have better access to the school-based mental health support they need, thanks to the Mental Health Practitioners initiative.

The $51.2 million program, which began in July 2019, will see qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses.

Recruitment for mental health practitioners at schools in Ovens Murray and Mallee is now underway, with on-site roles to begin in Term 2.

A mental health coordinator will also be employed for each region to help oversee the recruitment and implementation process.

Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and coordinate support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied and community health services.

All government secondary schools will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements.

In addition, all specialist schools with secondary aged students have received funding to recruit a school-based mental health practitioner, who will build provide wrap-around support to students and families.

The Victorian Budget 2020/21 is investing $28.5 million for student mental health support as a boost to services in response to COVID-19.

This is in addition to the $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives in schools, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support program, as well as increased investment in allied health and nursing services.

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