The program received $200 million to roll out to every low-fee public and non-public primary school in Victoria.
Hutchins said the increased funding will support individual students, help teachers better identify and support at-risk students, and build relationships and referral pathways to local mental health services.
“Not only are we bringing mental health and wellbeing leaders into schools, we are adding thousands of extra mental health workers to every school and ensuring children have access to the full range of mental health tools to thrive,” the minister said. .
The program builds on a successful pilot with 100 elementary schools across the state. More than 95 per cent of mental health and wellbeing leaders who took part in the pilot said the program had improved their school’s ability to support pupils’ mental health and wellbeing needs.
The program will be rolled out in stages over the coming years:
- Term 1 2023: Barwon, Brimbank Melton, Hume Moreland, Goulburn and Outer Gippsland.
- Semester 2, 2024: West Melbourne, Mullie, Owens-Murray and South Melbourne.
- Term 1, 2025: South West Wimmera, Loddon Campaspe, Outer East Melbourne and Inner Gippsland.
- Term 1, 2026: Central Highlands, North East Melbourne, Inner East Melbourne and Bayside Peninsula.
The Labor government has invested more than $600 million in mental health in schools alone, with psychiatrists already in every state secondary and specialist school across the state – a year ahead of schedule.
It includes $200 million to establish the School Mental Health Fund, which provides all public schools with flexible funding for programmes, training and additional staff and implements key recommendations from the Royal Commission on Mental Health in Victoria.
The Labor Government is implementing all the recommendations of the Royal Commission, which stressed that schools play an important role in identifying children with mental health and wellbeing problems who can be referred for treatment, care and support if necessary.
The Victorian Budget 2022/23 also includes $41.3 million to support mental health services for schools, including the continuation of the LOOKOUT program and the Headspace initiative.