The Labor Government will implement mental health professionals in all Victorian government secondary schools under a new election promise.
Labor says the $51.2 million program will allow schools to employ more than 190 qualified psychologists, counsellors and youth workers state-wide.
Each government secondary school will receive support from a mental health professional between one to five days a week with their frequency determined by enrolment numbers in the school.
Minister for Education James Merlino says the government will provide the funding to give all children the opportunity to seek support during their studies.
“We know that when our kids are happy and healthy they can focus on their learning and have the best opportunity to succeed in education and excel in life. That is why we are providing additional funding to ensure that every child is supported to achieve their best,” Merlino said.
At least 385,000 hours of additional mental health support will be provided over four years, according to a statement released by the Victorian Labor Government
It is estimated that one in seven Victorians between the ages of four and 17 have a mental health issue. The rate is even higher for secondary school students.
According to The Age, the number of students presenting with depression or anxiety in one school rose from 285 in 2015 to 743 last year.
To promote student wellbeing in secondary schools the Labor Government will also partner with the Orygen National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.
Schools will be given online access to advice from professionals on how to support students, deliver mental health plans and how to interact with health services and the allied community.
The announcement from the Labor Government is part of a $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing.