2014 Victorian Public Healthcare Award and Interactive Media AwardEmotional distress affects children and young people and school communities every year. This may include mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, self harm behaviours, suicidal ideation and suicide. These issues have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people, including their educational, developmental and wellbeing outcomes.

    The Victorian Government has partnered with headspace, the National Youth Mental Health Foundation to develop SAFEMinds: Schools And Families Enhancing Minds, a comprehensive learning and resource package that will enhance the capacity of school communities to effectively identify children and young people with early signs of mental health issues, offer school-based interventions and refer appropriately when needed.


    Early intervention strategies are designed to assist children and young people with emerging mental health issues before they develop into more serious illnesses or other associated problems.

    SAFEMinds aims to:

    • enhance early intervention mental health support for children and young people in schools; specifically regarding mild mood disorders (anxiety and depression) and self harm
    • increase engagement of parents and carers with schools to more effectively support their child's mental health; and
    • develop clear and effective referral pathways between schools and community youth and mental health services.

    "A sense of connectedness to families and schools is the most significant protective factor for young people”.

    (Resnick et al. Protecting Adolescents From Harm 1997)


    Schools play a critical role in the social and emotional learning of children and young people.

    The relationship between children or young people and their family has a significant impact on their mental health.

    SAFEMinds is an important resource for teachers as they are in the unique position of interacting with students daily, can build rapport and offer support, help with successful learning and development, and connect students and families to community services and resources when needed.

    SAFEMinds can help parents and carers understand their role in supporting their child's mental health and wellbeing; and connect them with their school and local community resources when needed.


    SAFEMinds is underpinned by the NIP it in the bud! early intervention approach. NIP it in the bud! is easy to follow and supports the whole school community to:

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    Notice changes in mood and behaviour that may indicate a child or young person is having difficulties managing emotional distress

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    Inquire sensitively and competently about the child or young person's circumstances

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    Plan appropriate first steps and possible referrals within or outside the school setting to support the child or young person.

    SAFEMinds combines a targeted range of training and a comprehensive toolkit of resources, to support whole school communities apply the NIP it in the bud! early intervention approach.

    Training elements:

    SAFEMinds Online

    Audience: whole school community


    SAFEMinds: In Practice

    Audience: local decision makers in schools


    SAFEMinds: At Home

    Audience: parents and carers

    headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation Ltd is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health under the Youth Mental Health Initiative Program.

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    The SAFEMinds: Supporting Victorian Schools to Intervene Early in Mental Health Project is funded by the Victorian Government

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