Emotional distress affects children and young people and school communities every year. This may include mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and self-harm behaviours. These issues have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people, including their educational, development and wellbeing outcomes.
To support school communities to effectively identify and respond to the mental health needs of children and young people, the Victorian government has partnered with headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation to deliver SAFEMinds: Schools and Families Enhancing Minds.
What is SAFEMinds?
SAFEMinds is a professional learning and resource package for schools and families that aims to:
enhance early intervention mental health support for children and young people in schools; specifically regarding mild mood disorders (anxiety and depression) and self harm
increase engagement of parents and carers with schools to more effectively support their child’s mental health; and
develop clear and effective referral pathways between schools and community youth and mental health services.
It provides a suite of online materials for the whole school community, including teachers, school support staff and parents and carers, as well as a range of targeted face-to-face professional learning opportunities. The package is underpinned by an early intervention approach, NIP it in the bud!
SAFEMinds comprises three key components:
SAFEMinds Online uses an immersive, video-based experience, to tell a series of personal stories of children and young people, their families and teachers. There are targeted videos for primary school staff, secondary school staff and parents and carers, which aim to develop knowledge and understanding about the many different forms of emotional distress children and young people may experience, and how these might be presented.
- To access SAFEMinds, please go to the Learning Management System login page. In order to access the full suite of materials and online resources:
- Click the “Create New Account” tab on the right hand side of the screen to create a username and password using your edumail or school email address.
- Click the “SAFEMinds” tab to enter the site.
- The course page is divided into four tabs. Please click on the “SAFEMinds Online” tab to access the interactive videos for secondary schools, primary schools and parents and carers. Click on the “Toolkit” tab to access all other relevant information and resources to enhance your learning experience. To demonstrate understanding of the content, users will be asked to complete a short quiz before exiting the program.
- SAFEMinds: In Practice delivers a series of face-to-face workshops targeted to local decision makers with responsibility for student wellbeing in schools. This training will support participants to become “SAFEMinds Champions”, equipped with the skills to apply the new “NIP it in the bud!” early intervention approach and toolkit resources in their schools, and to incorporate SAFEMinds into their school’s existing professional learning and student wellbeing policies and initiatives.
- SAFEMinds: At Home will offer a series of parent information forums in various locations across Victoria to support connections between parents and carers and schools and local mental health services. Parents and carers will be invited to attend forums in which headspace will provide useful information about supporting children and young people experiencing emotional distress, along with a panel of local mental health agencies who will provide information and answer questions from families about the services they provide.
For further information for parents, see: SAFEMinds
In addition to the professional learning and the support offered to school communities through SAFEMinds in relation to more clearly defining appropriate referral pathways, a new online referral tool has been developed. The Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix enables schools and families to access local information about the mental health and support services that are most appropriate for the issues that an individual child or young person may be presenting.
For further information and to access the matrix, see: Victorian System of Care Referral Matrix