Do students need a formal diagnosis of mental illness to be able to access support through these procedures?
No. The intent of the policy is to support students who have a suspected mental health difficulty. The nature of mental health difficulties may vary as will the level and nature of the support they will require. Support can be provided without a formal diagnosis of mental illness.
What are the requirements regarding documentation and meetings?
The number of meetings and the level of documentation required to support a student with a mental health difficulty will vary from student to student. The processes are similar to those used to devise an individualised support plan.
It should be noted that where another individual plan exists, there is no need for an additional plan to be developed.
What resources are available to support students?
There is provision for schools to make an application for additional resources to be allocated when the required level of support for a student is not able to be accommodated within existing resources.
What should schools be doing about prevention and mental health promotion?
Prevention and mental health promotion will continue to be addressed through the implementation of programs such as MindMatters and KidsMatter as well as social and emotional learning curriculum activities within schools. The policy recognises the existing processes used in schools and provides consistency for schools in supporting students with suspected mental health difficulties.
What level of information is required to be collected under the policy?
A minimal amount of information is collected to inform future planning and resource allocation.
Will schools be responsible for identifying all students with mental health difficulties?
The policy is intended to support students who may have a suspected mental health difficulty. The policy is not about screening or diagnosing students. It is about supporting those students who cannot appropriately engage with the curriculum or school community as a result of a suspected or diagnosed mental health difficulty.
Are we asking teachers to be experts in mental health?
The policy is not asking teachers to make clinical decisions, nor is it asking clinicians to make educational decisions. The policy seeks to ensure that teachers and clinicians work together in the best interest of students.
It is not the role of the school to diagnose the medical condition of a student; however the school may facilitate a referral to another service or suggest that the parent seek further support for their child. The aim of the policy is to assist school staff to address the issues (such as behaviours - social, emotional and educational) that are impacting on the student's ability to engage in all aspects of school life.
What happens to the information provided by schools to Central Office about students' mental health difficulties?
The information supplied to Central Office is kept secure and individual student information is not shared with any other agency. Information collected during the implementation period will inform the review of the policy. The review will include the issue of information collection and future data requirements.