The Andrews Labor Government is expanding professional mental health support at Victorian secondary schools in Macedon, under its $51.2 million Mental Health Practitioners in Schools initiative.

Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas today announced that from Term 1, 2020, Gisborne Secondary College and Kyneton High School will be recruiting mental health practitioners such as psychologists, social workers and mental health nurses.

The roll-out in Term 1 includes 39 secondary schools in North East Melbourne, including schools in Lalor, Thornbury and Richmond, and 18 in Loddon Campaspe, including schools from Castlemaine to Bendigo.

The Mental Health Practitioners in Schools initiative started at more than 50 schools in Barwon and Bayside Peninsula this year, with practitioners appointed and recruitment underway.

This initiative will provide every Victorian government secondary school campus with funding for a mental health practitioner by 2022, so students can receive additional support when they need it most.

At full roll-out, the program will employ more than 190 qualified mental health professionals across the state who will provide student counselling and early intervention services, as well as coordinating support for students with complex needs, linking in with broader allied and community health services.

Every government secondary school campus will receive between one and five days a week of support from a mental health practitioner depending on its size and requirements.

This initiative builds on the Government’s $65.5 million investment in student health and wellbeing initiatives, including the Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support approach to creating positive climates for learning, and increased investment in allied health and nursing services.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“We know that when our kids are happy and healthy they can focus on learning and have the best opportunity to succeed in education and in life.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas

“Mental Health is one of the most important issues for young people in the Macedon Ranges, so this is to ensure that if students in our region are experiencing mental health challenges, they have access to additional professional support.”