Everymind is conducting two projects to develop, deliver and research professional development approaches to build the capacity of early childhood educators and primary school teachers to contribute to the prevention of depression and/or anxiety in children.
Minds Together for family day care educators
This project seeks to build the capacity and confidence of Family Day Care (FDC) educators to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for children in their care, helping to prevent the development of anxiety and depression.
Children who are supported in their wellbeing in early childhood have a strong foundation for developing the skills, values and behaviours they need for positive physical and mental health as adults.
To support children’s mental health and wellbeing, FDC educators need particular knowledge, skills and practices. These relate to maintaining key partnerships with families and other professionals, engaging in professional practice related to mental health, creating positive environments, supporting children’s social and emotional development, and providing early intervention for mental ill-health.
Building the capacity of Primary School Teachers to respond to anxiety in their students
The purpose of this project is to build capacity in primary school teachers' confidence and understanding in relation to excessive anxiety in their students.
"Excessive levels of anxiety is a worryingly common issue affecting children. If not treated it can impact on their social, academic and family life and lead to a greater risk of developing mental ill-health later in life."
The project will be conducted in two stages, each with its own overarching goal:
Stage one - Scoping: Gather information to better understand the enablers and barriers to building capacity in primary school teachers to recognise, manage and refer students who need assistance with anxiety. Specifically:
- Teachers' attitudes towards students with excessive anxiety.
- Teachers' perceived personal abilities, and general system-wide abilities, to address the needs of students with excessive anxiety.
- Teachers' current level of knowledge around the prevention, identification, management, and referral pathways for anxiety.
- School leadership attitudes toward staff development in mental health.
- Teachers' perceptions around their needs and roles in student mental health.
- Teachers' preferred methods of professional development delivery.
Stage two - Intervention: Build and deliver a fit-for-purpose initiative using the evidence base gathered in stage one.
Expected long-term outcomes - The impact of this project is potentially enormous, with the intervention being rolled out nationally to schools. By building capacity in primary school teachers to reduce gaps in care for excessively anxious students, children will receive support to reduce anxiety and achieve their full potential as members of society and as individuals.
Acting Program Manager, Everymind
Dr Fitzpatrick is a developmental and clinical psychologist who is passionate about understanding the factors that contribute to the mental health and wellbeing of all Australians. She is particularly passionate about translating this knowledge into evidence-based programs that focus on children and families.
Professor, Department of Psychology and Director, Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University
Professor Hudson has made distinguished contributions to the scientific understanding and clinical treatment of anxiety disorders in young people, and her work has improved the quality of life for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.