Relationships Australia WA has developed a free online mental health training tool to help parents, teachers and carers better understand mental health, and recognise a child who may need support with challenges they are experiencing.
The Connect for Mental Health (CFMH) – For Parents, Teachers and Carers community learning tool is designed to help anyone who has responsibilities for primary school aged children know what to look for in a child who may be struggling, and how to respond and support them with their emotions.
The tool was launched on the last day of National Families Week, held this year between 15 – 21 May and contributes to the ongoing theme of Stronger Families, Stronger Communities.
Issues of mental health affect children of all communities and ages in Australia. Almost 1 in 7 Australian children between the ages of 4 – 17 will experience a mental health disorder in any given year.
Project Coordinator Sue Aspin said CFMH - For Parents, Teachers and Carers was developed due to positive feedback and community engagement with our first online mental health training tool, launched in 2016, which had a focus on adult to adult interactions.
“We received many requests for a version that focused on children,” she said.
“Those who parent or interact with children may benefit from knowing more about children’s mental health and how to respond to a child who is struggling.
“This training aims to increase awareness of the common behaviours we see in children who are having problems and also provides video examples of adults reaching out and talking to children about various challenges.
“It also includes other important information such as how to manage your own emotions effectively when a child is struggling and when to seek further supports.”
Both Relationship Australia WA’s online training tools use the STRES model – five simple steps to give people the confidence and tools to talk to someone they may be concerned about.
The content was developed by Relationships Australia WA clinical staff using recognised information and research on mental health. While not everyone has the ability to attend courses or workshops due to time, cost or location constraints, our CFMH training tools cover important mental health information in an interactive online format that is engaging, practical and free.
The STRES Model:
Signs - What you could look for in a child’s behaviour that may indicate they may be at risk of mental health decline.
Time - Finding the best time to talk to the child.
Reach out - How you can ask if a child is OK emotionally and what to say to them.
Empathy – How to listen well and what you can say in response, so the child feels heard and understood.
Support - Helping parents know when to seek professional help if their family needs it.
Connect for Mental Health for Kids was developed with funding from the Department of Social Services.