The rollout of mental health practitioners to every Victorian government secondary and specialist school is now complete, with a further tranche of schools in Brimbank Melton, Wimmera South West and Goulburn receiving funding for the Mental Health Practitioners in Secondary Schools initiative in Term 4.
This $51.2 million Mental Health Practitioners initiative has been finalised a year earlier than originally committed to in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding received will enable schools in to employ a practitioner for up to five days a week – with more than 250 suitably qualified and registered mental health practitioners already working across the state’s secondary schools.
The mental health practitioners can include psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and mental health nurses delivering the unique needs of each student cohort.
Already supporting around 188,000 students, these practitioners offer counselling and early intervention services, help students with complex needs, connect students to broader allied and community health services and deliver whole-school mental health promotion and prevention activities – including during periods of remote learning.
In August 2020, additional support for this critical program helped boost a further 51 mental health practitioners to specialist schools across the state, catering to the mental health needs of some of Victoria’s most vulnerable students. Around 4,300 secondary-aged students with disabilities currently have access to a practitioner in their school.
The Mental Health Practitioners initiative is in addition to the Government’s $28.5 million package to ensure that all Victorian government school students have continued access to professional mental health and wellbeing support during the pandemic.