Labor will recruit mental health workers to all 202 Tasmanian state primary and high schools.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said Labor’s $40 million Mental Health Workers in Schools Program will ensure Tasmanian students have access to specialist mental health support.
“The statistics around mental health issues for Australian young people are startling and we must do better,” Ms White said.
“Labor has consulted widely and the feedback is clear – early intervention is vital in protecting a young person’s mental health.
“Labor’s Mental Health Workers in Schools Program will employ a range of mental health professionals including social workers, youth workers and psychologists.
“Workers will provide direct counselling support and early intervention services, as well as coordinating appropriate support for students with more severe needs.
“This important program in schools will help to destigmatise mental health, foster more supportive peer support networks and build skills among other school staff to manage student mental health.”
The statistics around mental health issues for younger Australians are confronting:
- Half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14
- One in seven young people aged four to 17 experience a mental health condition in any given year
- One in 10 young people aged 12-17 years old will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt and one in 40 will attempt suicide
- Suicide continues to be the biggest killer of young Australians
“We also know that three out of five school age children in Tasmania identify mental health as a growing problem and mental health is the leading cause of youth homelessness in Tasmania,” Ms White said.
“By identifying and treating mental ill health in children we can reduce the number of acute mental health issues presenting at our hospitals and we can help reduce Tasmania’s youth suicide rate, which is among the highest in the country.
“Mental wellbeing is vital for learning and life. Children who are mentally healthy learn better, benefit from life experiences and have stronger relationships with family members, school staff and peers.
“This is something the Government should be doing now. We do not need to wait until the next election to better look after young Tasmanians.”
Rebecca White MP