AUSTRALIAN PSYCHOLOGISTS AND COUNSELLORS IN SCHOOLS
Teenage suicide and other mental health concerns have been on the increase in Australia for the last 100 years. This was an increase that could not be ignored. Since the early 1990's the federal and state governments of Australia have united behind suicide prevention and mental health strategies to curb this increasingly alarming growth. One initiative that was undertaken from these strategies was the development of the MindMatters resources and professional development in secondary schools.
MindMatters itself took a universal approach to mental health promotion through encouraging schools to review aspects of their whole-school system in terms of its support for mental health.
It became apparent that some secondary students were at greater risk of problems and they needed greater attention. To develop this, the MindMatters Plus Demonstration Project was created. This Project was established in 17 Secondary schools representing all Australian States, Territories and Education systems. The MindMatters Plus Project was funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). The Australian Guidance and Counselling Association (AGCA) and the Australian Principals' Associations Professional Development Council (APAPDC) managed this initiative.
MindMatters Plus drew upon existing school strengths and resources, such as pastoral care frameworks and activities, alliances between staff, families and communities, links to other schools, and partnerships with mental health and other agencies. Its intention was to develop sustainable capacity-building models for schools to be able to respond in a comprehensive and flexible manner to students experiencing emotional difficulties.
This Resource on Effective School Case Management is a valuable Toolkit arising out the work on the MindMatters Plus Demonstration Project. It offers a comprehensive model of case management around secondary students with support needs in the area of mental health. Mental health specialists and school-based staff can use parts of the guidelines or the toolkit to examine and improve on their own practice. Using these guidelines and toolkit would enhance the system of care around the needs student. This would then be likely to improve the outcomes for the student and the people supporting the student.
Terry de Jong undertook the development of this Resource on Case Management. Coosje Griffiths, as the Project Manager, supported Terry in this work. Terry is to be commended on the task that he has done. This Resource is a valuable addition to the library of anyone engaged in supporting secondary students with support needs. At times these students do need intensive support. Now we have a manual that thoroughly maps out the principles and processes for effective school case management. Thank you Terry de Jong, Coosje Griffiths, and the many health profession people and educators who contributed to the development of this Resource!
Australian Guidance and Counselling Association