By Jessica Anstice
A new mental health support program will soon be introduced to secondary school students across Pakenham and Kooweerup.
The school-based program will be made available to students thanks to the State Government’s Mental Health Practitioners initiative, which is aimed at improving mental health outcomes for students.
The $51.2 million initiative, which started in July last year, has so far provided funding for 120 secondary school campuses across the state to recruit a suitably qualified mental health professional.
A further 32 secondary school campuses will receive funding in Term 3 and 69 secondary school campuses in Term 4.
“When our kids have a positive sense of self and are supported, they can focus on their learning and have the best opportunity to succeed in education and excel in life,’ Member for Bass Jordan Crugnale said.
Once fully rolled out, the initiative will see suitably qualified mental health professionals in every government secondary school campus across the state, including psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses.
Mental health practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, and act as coordinating support for students with complex needs, linking them with broader allied community and health services.
“Too many young people experience mental health challenges – this will make it easier for people to access the support they need,” Education Minister James Merlino said.
All government secondary schools within the Cardinia Shire will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements.
“We will implement every recommendation of the landmark Royal Commission into mental health and keep delivering practical support that Victorians need now,” Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said.
The government established a landmark Royal Commission into Mental Health and will implement all of its recommendations.