Early childhood and primary schools

KidsMatter

KidsMatter is the Australian Government’s mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative for primary schools and early childhood educations services. 

It focuses on the mental health needs of children and aims to contribute to:

  • improving the mental health and wellbeing of children
  • reducing mental health difficulties among children
  • greater support for children, and their families, experiencing mental health difficulties.

KidsMatter is a national collaboration between the education and health sectors. It was jointly developed by beyondblue, Principals Australia Institute (PAI), Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and the Australian Psychological Society (APS), with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and beyondblue.


KidsMatter Early Childhood

KidsMatter Early Childhood logo
KidsMatter was developed by mental health professionals and education and childcare staff in response to the high rates of school-age children with mental health difficulties and the problems they face getting help. 

Evaluation

During the pilot, beyondblue funded a comprehensive independent evaluation, conducted by Flinders University, South Australia. The evaluation report, released in September 2012, reported positive outcomes for children, staff and parents/families. 

In 2012, KidsMatter Early Childhood was trialled in a further 130 early childhood education and care services across Australia.

Publications and resources

KidsMatter Early Childhood provides evidence-based resources to assist early childhood educators, families, community members and professionals in enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of children.

KidsMatter Early Childhood regularly develops and contributes to a range of publications to inform the general public and wider research community about the initiative. 


KidsMatter Primary

KidsMatter Primary logo
KidsMatter Primary provides a step-by-step planning process designed for primary schools to review, support and build upon their existing efforts to foster the mental health and wellbeing of students.

Pilot evaluation

A two-year independent evaluation of the pilot program, conducted by the Centre for Analysis of Educational Futures at Flinders University, found that 20% of students experiencing mental health difficulties were shown to no longer be at risk after adopting the KidsMatter Primary program over a two-year period.

The independent evaluation also found that student mental health and wellbeing had improved throughout the school community, students' school work had improved and parents, carers and teachers were reported to have greater capacity to help children to withstand social and emotional challenges.

Resources

A range of resources for schools and families have been developed to support the implementation of KidsMatter Primary in schools.

beyondblue, in collaboration with the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and Principals Australia (PA) developed KidsMatter Primary, with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, beyondblue and support from Australian Rotary Health.