I recently attended a briefing on the wellbeing frameworks KidsMatter Primary and MindMatters. The frameworks are evidence based, mental health initiatives for schools, developed by teachers and mental health professionals in response to the high rates of school aged children with mental health difficulties and the problems they face in getting help.
The two initiatives embrace an early intervention, prevention and promotion approach and are partnerships between the education and health sectors. The Australian Department of Health, the Principals Australia Institute and the Australian Psychological Society work in partnership to bring these wellbeing frameworks to schools. KidsMatter (early childhood) is for early learning centres and preschools. KidsMatter Primary is for primary schools and MindMatters has been developed for secondary schools.
As people who work in schools, we all know that children thrive when they have a sense of belonging and can work to develop strong positive relationships with peers and adults in their lives. KidsMatter Primary and MindMatters work as an overarching framework to support the already wonderful pastoral care work that is provided to students, ensuring schools are happier places, not just for the students but for staff and families as well. As teachers and support staff, we all know how much nicer it is to teach students who are happy, engaged and resilient or who can self identify when something is not quite right for them and seek appropriate help.
The frameworks are based on the principle that the best mental health strategy is one that prevents issues from arising in the first place. For this reason KidsMatter Primary and MindMatters helps schools to promote positive mental health through the whole school community, and aim to prevent mental health difficulties in students by taking steps to improve relationships and resilience.
KidsMatter and MindMatters provide staff with practical advice and guidance so that they can support students who may be struggling with mental health difficulties in a timely and appropriate way. Promotion, prevention and early intervention are central tenets of the KidsMatter and MindMatters approach.
KidsMatter Primary and MindMattters use a framework, that provides structure, guidance and support for schools to build their own mental health strategy to suit their unique circumstances. KidsMatter Primary and MindMatters provide school staff with blended professional learning that includes online resources, face to face events, webinars and support. All content has been informed by strong evidence in the area of school mental health and wellbeing. The use of KidsMatter and MindMatters comprehensive resources has mental health benefits for the entire school community – including students, families and school staff. In an age where workloads for school staff are constantly changing (let’s read that as increasing) and becoming ever more challenging, the whole school strategic approach that KidsMatter Primary and MindMatters encourages becomes even more important. The development of a school community that promotes mental health and wellbeing, while building respectful relationships, belonging and inclusion is integral as we move towards an often uncertain and challenging future.
Coming from a school that recently became a KidsMatter Primary school, I can highly recommend the framework as a wonderful support mechanism for student and staff mental health, wellbeing and welfare.
For further information or if you’d be interested in attending one of the sessions about either KidsMatter Primary or MindMatters for your school, the 2016 briefing sessions are currently open for registration. You can book online:
http://www.paivement.com/eventcalendar.aspx or http://www.mindmatters.edu.au/get-involved/events
Alternatively you can contact Senior Project Officer Jeannette James on (02) 8333 9614 or email firstname.lastname@example.org