Mental health program helps kids when they most need support

Mental health program helps kids when they most need support

Research from Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) shows a significant mental health problem in Australia’s schools, with 63% of children aged 5-14 experiencing a worsening of their mental health since returning to school post COVID-19.

It is also estimated that 14% of 4-17-year old’s are currently living with a diagnosable mental health condition. However, an overwhelming 85% of teachers aren't confident teaching students about managing their mental health and wellbeing.

Research by Truwell has found that current student wellbeing programs are both limited in scope and don’t go far enough to support the early intervention of wellbeing issues.

To tackle this, female founder-led digital studio Matterworks has launched Decode Mental Health and Wellbeing, a ground-breaking video-led education program aimed at students from Years 5-8. The program is delivered on Education Perfect's online platform and powered by evidence-based research from Raising Children's Network and MCRI.

Decode takes important health information and presents it in an accessible format, with structured and curriculum-aligned lessons to help teachers produce stronger learning outcomes for their students.

The program also offers a bespoke program for teachers on adolescent mental health, including moods and behaviours, recognising and understanding trauma, managing cyberbullying, and creating a gender-inclusive school environment.

Education Perfect CEO Alex Burke said the company saw a clear need for resources that both educate students and enable teachers, and as such, Decode was born.

“Decode makes it easy for teachers to address mental health and wellbeing in the classroom. They can be assured it is built upon highly credible evidence-based research, and is delivered via a safe and trusted platform, providing consistent messaging for students and peace of mind for teachers and parents,” Burke told The Educator.

‘A market-first in Australia’

Matterworks co-founder Sarah Wyse, said the program was created for the years 5-8 age group due to evidence showing that 50% of adults with mental health and wellbeing issues present symptoms before the age of 14.

“We also know the transition from year 6 to 7 can be really challenging for kids so we wanted to impact these kids at a time when they most need support,” Wyse told The Educator.

“We have struck a unique partnership with the leading edtech provider in ANZ and Australia’s leading child health research institute to deliver a heavy and delicate subject matter [mental health] in an accessible, digestible way that speaks to kids on their level – at scale.”

Wyse said this “evidence-based, curriculum-aligned, and entertaining approach” to literacy resources, makes Decode a market-first in Australia.

“Our teacher’s professional development program supports teachers in a real-world way which is key when we think about how we can improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people in a school setting.”

‘For young people, by young people’

Professor Harriett Hiscock, Matterworks Chief Health Officer and Murdoch Children’s Group Leader of Health Services said it’s critical to start the process of building student’s mental health literacy from a young age, so they feel armed with knowledge and tools to build resilience.

“Decode has been designed to do exactly that, using content creators with lived experiences who can deliver authentic messaging in language students understand – it’s for young people by young people.”