There is a myth, that childhood is always carefree and fun and while we hope that the majority of childhood is like that, children also face challenges that will impact their mental health.
Kids Helpline has an established reputation as a first point of contact for children and young people who need counselling and wellbeing support. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, children are able to choose telephone, WebChat or email counselling when they need to connect.
As children across Australia begin a new school year, Kids Helpline is reminding families to keep an eye on their children’s wellbeing at what can be an anxious and stressful time. To help make things a little easier not only at the beginning of the new school year, but also through the year, schools are encouraged to tap into the free Kids Helpline @ School program.
Kids Helpline @ School, strengthens the reach of Kids Helpline by providing evidence-informed learning to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children when at school with topics such as bullying, resilience, friendships and student wellbeing.
Kids Helpline Manager Tony Fitzgerald spoke with 96five’s Ken and Nicky about the importance of this program.
“At Kids Helpline we always talk about intervention and prevention,” said Tony Fitzgerald.
“Really that’s about trying to encourage kids from as early age as possible to reach out for help and support when they feel like they need it.
“If we can normalise that idea of help seeking from a very young age, just like we normalize the idea of help seeking when our kids are feeling physically sick.” Tony Fitzgerald, Kids Helpline
Kids Helpline @ School supports primary school students’ mental health literacy, normalisation of help-seeking behaviours, and promotion of positive health and wellbeing.
It uses digital technology to link Kids Helpline professional counsellors with students and their teachers in interactive education sessions.
“We have such an enthusiastic bunch of counselors and facilitators and they get the kids moving and they get the kids having fun but also delivering important messages around help seeking at the same time.
“Our counselors then see it. They might get a call two or three weeks later from a child whose participated in one of these sessions that says, ‘hey I was in one of these sessions with your counsellors a couple of weeks ago and I don’t feel right, I need to speak to someone’ and that’s exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to encourage here.
Kids Helpline @ School can be tailored to suit the needs and requests of a classroom. To learn more and book a Kids Helpline @ School session, visit www.kidshelpline.com.au
Listen to the full interview in the player above.