The Morrison Government is today launching a new, free phone application with information, ideas and guidance for parents to help them provide additional support their child’s mental health and wellbeing.
The Raising Healthy Children App was developed by the Raising Children Network as part of its program to support parents’ mental health literacy by building knowledge and confidence concerning the social and emotional wellbeing of children. The Morrison Government is providing $1.5 million over three years to help fund the program.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young Australians is a high priority for the Government.
“Each year, more than 300,000 Australian children experience a mental health disorder, and diagnosis and treatment at an early stage is important because it can reduce the length and severity of the problem,” Minister Hunt said.
“Parents can play a crucial role in early diagnosis and this new app will give parents and carers the confidence to recognise early signs of social or emotional problems and help them to seek support if it’s needed.”
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, David Coleman, said the app was targeted towards parents with children aged 12 years and under and includes information on health, development and wellbeing based on the child’s age.
“The app also includes information and support for parents and carers to ensure they are looking after their own mental health and wellbeing,” Assistant Minister Coleman said.
“We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on the mental health and wellbeing of young children and their parents, and this app is a resource families can use to recognise warning signs and seek support.”
The app complements existing dedicated online mental health and wellbeing resources available for all parents and carers on the Raising Children Network’s website and can be downloaded from the usual app stores on mobile phones.
In August 2019, the Morrison Government asked the National Mental Health Commission to develop a new National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy as part of the Government’s Long Term National Health Plan.
The strategy has been informed by a steering committee and expert advisory group and is due to be finalised this month.
The 2021-22 Budget invests a record $2.3 billion in reformed mental health care, through the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan. This includes a number of initiatives for children and young people including:
- $54.2 million to create new Head to Health Kids mental health and wellbeing centres for children up to 12 years, in partnership with the state and territory governments;
- $42.3 million to support access to parenting education and support, to build parenting strategies and help parents to identify problem behaviours early; and
- $26.8 million to support Kids Helpline and meet the increased demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australians looking for support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic can access the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Wellbeing Support Service anytime via telephone at 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au.
Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.
If you are concerned about suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available at 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.