Get involved: primary school mental health program

Macedon Ranges council is inviting local parents and teachers to participate in upcoming focus groups, to shape a new, holistic mental health education program for grades five and six students in the municipality.

Following on from recent community consultation, with over 200 surveys completed by parents, teachers and the broader community, the focus groups are a part of a ‘whole of community’ response to building grades five and six resilience.

Council said the groups would be facilitated by the Jeder Institute, a not -for-profit organisation with expertise in consulting with a strong community focus.

Groups will explore themes identified in the survey as childhood development, mental health literacy, behaviours, risk and protective factors for mental health, and what constitutes a good mental health education.

The first focus group is for teachers in Macedon Ranges primary schools, held online on Monday, August 15, from 4pm to 5.30pm.

This will be followed by a focus group for parents of primary school aged children in the municipality, being held online on Tuesday, August 16, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Council acknowledged all of the primary schools that applied to have the pilot program at their school.

“Woodend Primary School and Kyneton Primary School have been selected to take part in the pilot program. The aim of the pilot program is to establish an evidence base in order to extend the program to additional primary schools in the shire,” council said.

Council community director Maria Weiss said the education program is aimed at building resilience, mental health awareness and network of support for children during transitional years.

“The primary school years are such a pivotal stage in a child’s development and many have faced the challenges of uncertainty and fear over the last couple of years,” Ms Weiss said.

“We know that for some this has affected their confidence and their overall mental health. This program allows us to work closely with the schools, parents and children to provide a relevant mental health education program that will promote positive mental health for children.”