Mental Health Menu

  • Journey of Hope: School-Based Psychosocial Support


    Tier 1: Positive Mental Health Promotion
    Tier 2: Early Intervention Cohort Specific Support

    Program Description

    Journey of Hope is a program based in cognitive-behavioural therapy for children who have been affected by a disaster or mass trauma experience. The program aims to promote understanding and normalise emotions, positive coping strategies, and minimise risk factors.

    Facilitators work with students across eight modules that are tailored to different age groups and are aligned to the Victorian school curriculum. Facilitators also provide tailored workshops to parents and teachers so that they have the knowledge and skills to better support student mental health and learning.

    Detailed Cost

    Journey of Hope costs $550 per student (inc. GST) for a group of 30 students, and is delivered for one hour a week over 8 weeks by two facilitators.

    The minimum commitment for the program to run is for 3 groups of up to 10 (total 30) students per day. Schools in the same region can combine resources to meet the 30 person cap.

    Additional costs include a mileage charge of 0.80 cents per kilometre inc. GST levied for regional areas, and accommodation and travel related cost calculated based on location.

    Implementation Considerations

    Target population: Students of all ages who are experiencing collective trauma. The program has specifically been used to support migrant and refugee children from the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis and Aboriginal children.

    Program adaptability: Journey of Hope can be delivered flexibly to meet the psychosocial recovery needs of primary and secondary aged students, with adaptations for specific contexts including in response to bushfires, COVID-19 or other events of collective trauma. For older age groups, the program will be adapted into fewer sessions to enable easy integration into the existing curriculum.

    Staffing: Schools should consider staff backfilling if they would like teachers to participate, which is strongly encouraged but not mandatory.

    Training requirements: School teachers and staff do not need to participate in any pre-requisite training before program delivery. Schools are only required to provide an appropriate space to facilitate 8 sessions.

    Factors to consider: The time commitment is 60 minutes per week per group for 8 weeks.

    Australian context: The program was first implemented after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and has since been delivered to more than 85,000 children globally, including an adaptation in New Zealand following the Christchurch earthquake. In Australia, Journey of Hope has been delivered to over 5,000 children in several communities experiencing collective trauma such as bushfires and COVID-related lockdowns. Its effectiveness in the Australian context has been tested in partnership with the University of Melbourne.

    Strength of Evidence

    Level 3: Foundational and emerging evidence for program

    Geographic Location


    Intended Outcomes

    Immediate Outcomes (1-3 months):
    • Students can talk about emotions and know how to handle them
    • Students learn soft skills like problem solving and teamwork and feel more confident supporting their peers
    • Students develop strategies to reduce their difficulties
    • Students learn positive coping strategies like problem solving, emotional regulation, and expressing feelings
    Intermediate outcomes (3-6 months):
    • Students understand and normalise trauma-related emotions
    • Students develop prosocial behaviours, such as sharing, being helpful and other behaviours promoting positive relationships
    • Students show fewer difficulties risk factors including conduct problems, inattention, and poor peer relationships 
    • Students demonstrate improved coping strategies
    Long term outcomes (6+ months)
    • Students are engaged in learning and developmentally on track