Enhancing mental health support in schools

To support school communities to effectively identify and intervene early with the mental health needs of children and young people, the Victorian Government announced the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative (VABMHI) in early 2018.

VABMHI's mental health focus - Enhancing Mental Health Support in Schools (EMHSS) initiative received an additional $8.2 million to continue service up to mid 2021. 

The initiative
aims to:

  1. enhance access to mental health support of students in Victorian Government secondary schools
  2. increase support for, and improve response to, mild to moderate mental health concerns through early intervention strategies; and
  3. build the capacity and capability of Government school workforces in Victoria to support students with mental health issues.

About the initiative

The initiative delivers mental health support by offering:

  • One on one student counselling sessions for students in Victorian government secondary schools. These sessions are delivered by headspace and are designed to increase the availability of mental health support for students, improve mental health outcomes and assist students in finding the right support as appropriate.
  • School capacity building and training across Victoria. Training includes SAFEMinds sessions, SAFEMinds train the trainer sessions and suicide risk continuum training sessions offered at no cost to participants.
  • Psychological support sessions for Student Support Services (SSS) staff to promote their own health and wellbeing.

Student counselling

Secondary students of Victorian government schools have access to face-to-face and telephone counselling services from headspace.

School capacity building and training

headspace is continuing to offer refreshed SAFEMinds one day training to increase foundational knowledge of mental health and emerging concerns. The training is available to primary and secondary school staff and regional staff.

Suicide Risk Continuum training continues to be available in 2019. Targeted at regional staff and lead teachers in secondary schools, it is aimed at providing staff with a better understanding of suicide risk factors, identification and response to at-risk students, and ability to deliver psychological support.

Access the 2019 training calendar and registration links. You can also email schoolsupport@headspace.org.au or contact your relevant health and wellbeing coordinator.

SSS psychological support

The psychological support service is a targeted support mechanism for the professional workforce employed within student support services. It aims to enhance staff self-care, wellbeing and stress management.

Psychological support sessions provide SSS with a confidential and reflective space focused on supporting their individual wellbeing, self-care, and sustainable engagement in SSS work.

Sessions are strengths based, solution focused and operate within a short term intervention framework, with opportunities during sessions to assess and identify the need for longer term support as required. The service operates during standard business hours.

The psychological support service is a complementary workplace support, and is not designed to provide mental health treatment, critical incident debriefing, crisis management, or clinical governance/ supervision. Where these concerns or themes are indicated, in session discussion occurs to facilitate appropriate SSS follow up/ referral for the support required.

For more information or to book an appointment, contact headspace at: aheynatz@headspace.org.au


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, developmental and wellbeing outcomes.