$19 million fund to assist secondary schools to take action toward creating a climate of positive mental health.
The Australian Government is providing up to $19 million to 30 June 2016 for the MindMatters secondary school mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative. The funding is being provided under the National Mental Health Program and the National Suicide Prevention Program.
MindMatters aims to increase a school’s capacity to implement a ‘whole-school’ approach to mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention. The current model involves face to face professional development for teachers and school personnel, provision of hardcopy resources, a website and implementation support.
MindMatters was developed in the late 1990s in response to escalating rates of youth suicide. At this time, there was little in the way of primary mental health care and youth specific mental health services.
MindMatters was developed by a consortium of academics, researchers and health educators from Melbourne, Sydney and Deakin Universities and the Australian Council of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The consortium trialed the MindMatters resource materials with schools from 1997‑1998 and a review of the resources and their suitability was undertaken by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in 2000. Principals Australia Institute has been funded to deliver MindMatters since 2000.
Teachers and school personnel from 83% of schools across Australia with secondary enrolments have attended MindMatters professional development since the initiative’s inception in 2000.
Since the inception of MindMatters, there has been significant reform in both the mental health and education sectors. A redeveloped MindMatters model is required to take account of these changes and the current evidence base for youth mental health and school-based mental health programs and initiatives.
Through this competitive process, a single organisation (or consortium) will be engaged to undertake the redevelopment and delivery of MindMatters from 2013 to 30 June 2016. The redeveloped MindMatters initiative will be available for Australian schools with secondary enrolments from January 2014.
The objectives of the MindMatters initiative are to:
- Provide a measurable, sustainable, effective and replicable framework of secondary school based mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention that is cost effective;
- Support implementation and continued use of the framework in secondary schools nationally;
- Ensure that there are no direct costs to secondary schools for participating in the initiative and indirect costs are minimised;
- Identify and strengthen linkages with relevant state, territory, Commonwealth and non-government programs as appropriate via inclusion in the framework and resources;
- Develop partnerships between secondary schools and families that contribute to students’ mental health and wellbeing;
- Facilitate relationships between secondary schools and health/community services to strengthen referral pathways; and
- Provide a website for young people, families, teachers and schools which includes resources and links to other appropriate websites.
Applications which will be considered for MindMatters funding should:
- provide a sustainable, effective, efficient and replicable model of secondary school based mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention;
- have a clear evidence base;
- be culturally sensitive;
- complement the activities of existing mental health programs delivered in secondary schools;
- leverage other mental health and education policy, programs and initiatives, including the development and maintenance of a Programs Guide for schools; and
- contribute to the evidence base of secondary school setting based approaches to mental health and wellbeing.
Applications for MindMatters close at 2pm Australian Eastern Daylight Time on 12 March 2013.
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