Kids Helpline and Bupa to take on mental health and bullying in schools program

Kids Helpline is set to expand its in-school education program thanks to a new major partnership between yourtown - the provider of Kids Helpline - and health and care company Bupa Australia.

Kids Helpline @ School Wellbeing is delivered in primary schools around Australia by professional Kids Helpline counsellors, using video technology including Skype, facetime, and other video conferencing software.

Bupa’s support will enable thousands of primary school children to access the free early intervention and prevention education program, covering topics that include bullying, resilience, friendships, mental health and safety.

“At any time, one in four young people in Australia are at risk of serious mental health issues. We were looking for an organisation to partner with which not only aligned to Bupa’s purpose of helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives, but also an organisation which would make a real difference to the mental wellbeing of people in Australia,” says Bupa Australia Chief Executive Officer Richard Bowden.

“We’re so pleased to be working with Kids Helpline to make a difference to the emotional wellbeing of primary school children, setting them up with tools they’ll be able to use for life,” he says.

Mental health challenges can significantly impact a child’s life, affecting their learning and education, employment outcomes, and can lead to drug and alcohol abuse. The estimated economic cost of mental illness to Australia could be as high as $40 billion a year.

Kids Helpline @ School Wellbeing focuses on early intervention, to help children develop tools, resilience and knowledge to set them up for a happy and emotionally healthy life.

“Early intervention is the key to changing and saving lives. Bupa’s support means we can create more opportunities to support and protect primary school children through early education and encouraging help seeking. Thousands more children will benefit from the program and we will also be able to create more tools to support teachers and parents about what matters most – the wellbeing of our children," says yourtown CEO Tracy Adams.

Kids Helpline @ School Wellbeing will focus on a number of key themes, including:

  • Bullying – helping students identify, manage and prevent bullying

  • Developing resilience – helping students learn to bounce back and deal with challenges and changes

  • Friendships – developing healthy friendships and conflict resolution skills

  • Managing emotions – mental health literacy and emotional self-regulation

  • Transition to High School – coping with change and strengthening essential skills.

The first Kids Helpline @ School program was launched in 2013. More than 2,450 sessions have since been held with over 69,000 primary school students reached so far. Around half of sessions were focused on Wellbeing topics.

Since the program has been running, contacts to the helpline from primary school aged children increased from eight per cent in 2013 to 14 per cent in 2016. This suggests that more children have knowledge of Kids Helpline and have the confidence and trust to reach out when they need help.

The wellbeing program will kick off this year. To find out more or to get your school involved, visit the Kids Helpline @ School website.

More about Kids Helpline

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged 5 to 25.

In the last 26 years, counsellors have responded to more than 7.5 million contacts nationally, over the phone and online with issues including bullying, domestic violence, homelessness, neglect, mental health and suicide. Sadly, suicide remains the leading cause of death for children and young people in Australia.

In 2015, Kids Helpline @ School received the National Play Your Part Award from the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) in recognition of being an inspiring example of promoting the safety and wellbeing of children through an inclusive and engaging prevention and early intervention. In 2016, Kids Helpline received both the National NAPCAN and Queensland Child Protection Week Committee awards for child protection.

Kids Helpline has partnered with Optus for the last 19 years. Optus will continue to support the Kids Helpline @ School Digital thumbprint program, focussed on cyber safety, while Bupa supports the Wellbeing program.

Kids Helpline is a service of yourtown.

For more information on the Kids Helpline@ School Wellbeing program and to register your interest click here.

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 – call 1800 55 1800 or visit kidshelpline.com.au

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