Be You – mental health initiative for early learning services

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  Published on Tuesday, 05 February 2019

Be You – mental health initiative for early learning services

Library Home  >  Health, Wellbeing & Nutrition
  Published on Tuesday, 05 February 2019

Beyond Blue has launched an important new initiative for schools and early learning services, which aims to improve the mental health of children through provision of a seamless mental health resource, that encompasses a child's entire time in education.

Be You provides access to online training and resources, backed by 70 expert staff on the ground, to support early learning professionals as well as teachers and principals.

Australian government statistics show that one in seven young people aged between four and 17 has experienced a mental health issue in the past 12 months – that is 560,000 children. Given that children spend around 30 hours at schools or in care each week, teachers and educators are confronted with these issues every day and are well placed to support children.

Funded by the Australian Government, Be You makes it easier for educators to nurture the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people by:

  • Giving them flexible training and clear information, based on solid research, to helps them recognise and respond confidently to emerging mental health issues in their early learning service or schools
  • Offering tips on how to build resilience in children and young people
  • Reviewing mental health-related programs and placing them in one, easy-to-use online directory
  • Giving advice to educators about how they can support their own wellbeing
  • Involving families and carers in their child's education and wellbeing
  • Providing 70 consultants to guide schools and early learning services through the available resources

The good news is educators can claim completion of Be You learning modules towards their professional development.

Be You will bring together educators, parents, support staff and children to develop and roll out action plans tailored to the needs of each early learning service.

Developed by Beyond Blue in partnership with delivery partners Early Childhood Australia and headspace, Be You is available for free to all 24,000 early learning services, primary and secondary schools in Australia.

Be You brings together and builds on five evidence-based but disconnected programs – KidsMatter Early Learning, KidsMatter Primary, MindMatters, ResponseAbility and headspace School Support and for the first time Australia will have a single, integrated initiative that encompasses a child’s entire education, including the important transition points.

Beyond Blue Chair Julia Gillard said mental health can profoundly influence the educational outcomes of children and young people.

"Half of all lifelong mental health issues emerge before the age of 14," Ms Gillard said. "We can help change this with prevention and early intervention and by supporting the amazing principals, teachers and early learning professionals who spend so much time with our children and young people.

"Providing educators with the tools to foster resilience, and social and emotional wellbeing, is an investment in everyone's future because mentally healthy kids learn better.

Early Childhood Australia CEO Sam Page said more than a million children attend one of Australia's 15,500 early education services every year and it is critical that we use this important time in a child's development to build the foundations of lifelong mental health and wellbeing.

"Early childhood educators, teachers and leaders can work together with families and the community to support children to develop their sense of self, empathy and communication skills which can be important 'protective factors' in later years," she said.

Early learning services, schools and educators can learn more and sign up at Be You.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Wednesday, 19 August 2020