School Children

Enhancing Mental Health Support in Secondary Schools in Gippsland

Gippsland PHN have engaged service providers Latrobe Community Health and Relationships Australia Victoria, who auspice headspace Morwell and Bairnsdale respectively, to deliver the Enhancing Mental Health Support in Secondary Schools (EMHSS) program, funded from Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET).

The funding has increased the two centres capacity to employ dedicated mental health workers to provide face to face assessment and counselling sessions for government secondary schools students before, during and after school hours.

This initiative has provided enhanced mental health services to young people in Victorian government secondary schools and continues to build the capability of regional and school staff to support students with mental health issues. With a view to improve mental health for students at secondary school and to promote safe and supportive learning environments.

After six months headspace centres in Gippsland have successfully recruited into the clinical positions. The funding allocated has resulted in an increase of dedicated support to secondary school students to Victorian government secondary school students in Gippsland.

Gippsland PHN’s project lead Alyce Cuman said anecdotally, welfare teams within a number of Gippsland schools have reported the mental health and wellbeing needs young people are beyond their capacity.

“Both Headspace centres are adopting a predominately outreach delivery model to improve access to mental health services for secondary school students, acknowledging young people attending rural secondary schools are a more vulnerable cohort as they have limited transport options to access centre-based services.” says Ms Cuman.

An innovative Regional Telephone counselling service, eHeadspace, is available when a school is located 60km or more from the allocated headspace centre.

Headspace centres place a strong emphasis on strengthening links with identified local secondary school welfare and leadership teams to enhance potential service pathways. This engagement has resulted in enhancing the schools understanding awareness of EMHSS and other headspace services.

The large number of EMHSS school referrals demonstrates the strong links created to support access to services.

For further information about Headspace in Gippsland visit our Youth Mental Health page.