Primary School Mental Health First Aid

Dr Laura Hart is leading a team of researchers and to develop and evaluate a Mental Health First Aid program for adults living and working with Primary School aged children. The research is supported by a MRFF Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission grant – Growing Minds Australia Clinical Trials Network aimed at improving methods for identifying signs of mental health problems in children and access to evidence based programs that improve mental health literacy and reduce stigma.

This work is also supported by a grant from North West Melbourne PHN, to develop resources for health professionals working with children to help improve recognition and support for mental health problems and crises such as suicidal distress. Researchers have been working with the North West Melbourne PHN to develop evidence-based Mental Health First Aid guidelines for health professionals working with children and their families.

PhD Candidate Catherine Johnson has been awarded an Australian Rotary Health Scholarship for her project to develop evidence-based guidelines and training for teachers on how to best support primary aged children with emerging mental health problems in the classroom.

Equipping adults to recognise and respond to mental health problems early should significantly improve the mental wellbeing of Australia’s children and lessen the long-term negative impact of mental health problems.