Primary School

Thriving Minds: Empowered Futures

Provides schools with an initial touch point to open conversations that will build a student’s sense of belonging, an understanding of themselves and others and provide strategies for effective help seeking behaviours.

The details

As schools strive to develop an environment that is inclusive, supportive and safe for its learners they require programs that enrich the development of the whole child in all aspects of learning.

Thriving Minds: Empowered Futures provides schools with an initial touch point to open conversations that will build a student’s sense of belonging, an understanding of themselves and others and provide strategies for effective help seeking behaviours. The aim of this program is to address the stigma that surrounds mental illness and to equip the students with effective strategies to seek help if they ever find themselves in a challenging situations. This program is mapped to the Australian Curriculum. 

The program is multi-touch and delivered including the following:

  • Introduction with the teachers (30mins) (Resources and information sessions for parents and carers provided)
  • Mental Health & Me – Starting to develop a mentally literate classroom. (40mins) Classroom Delivery
  • Teacher Training- Language Matters. (40mins) **Flexible delivery options at school or part of community program
  • No labels- Understanding bullying behaviours. (40mins) Classroom Delivery
  • Celebration of Learning- Culminating Activity. (40mins) Year group delivery + parents, carers and friends invite.
  • Evaluation meeting with teachers. (30mins)

Mental Health & Me: Primary

Time Required: 40mins by class

Curriculum Links (Note these will be updated to the new links)

ACPPS033, ACPPS034, ACPPS035

By the end of the lesson the children will be able to successfully (Success Criteria):

Students can develop skills to respond.
Students can identify the importance of resilience in help seeking behaviours.
Students can confidently meet challenges.

No Labels: Primary

Time Required: 40mins by class

Curriculum Links  (Note these will be updated to the new links)

ACPPS033, ACPPS035, ACPPS037

By the end of the lesson the children will be able to successfully (Success Criteria):

Students can suggest help-seeking behaviours (including people) to respond positively to challenges and failures.
Students can predict and reflect on others feelings and identify ways to support them.
Students can identify many different types of bully behaviour.
Students can describe the role of the bystander in unfair treatment.

Celebration of Learning

Time Required: 30mins whole year group

This is an opportunity to reinforce what the children have learnt and how far they have come on their journey to become mental health literate. Parents and friends of each class cohort are invited to join the celebration and access further resources and supports.

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DoNOHarm: Language Matters

Teachers are major role models when it comes to how we teach children to speak and use language that is not stigmatised. The language that is used in the school environment matters and can lead to a greater understanding of mental health in the community. It can reduce society-wide stigma, decrease ignorance and damaging self-respect and self-esteem. We present the latest evidence based mental health language guided by MIEACT’s internationally recognised DoNOHarm framework.<-p>

One sessions (30min).

By the end of the lesson Teachers will:

understand the importance of their language choices.
deconstruct language choices present in their classroom environment.
describe ways that they can exclude stigmatised language.
identify ways that they can help seek for themselves and their students.

**Program delivery for this session can be flexible to work around school scheduled. This can be delivered with the Teacher cohort, as a broader professional development opportunity for all Teachers within the school or by attendance at scheduled program’s for the whole Canberra teaching community.

Thriving Minds: Empowered Futures is a multi-touch and multifaceted approach to mental health literacy promotion and effective help seeking of its kind for a primary school audience.

This program encourages open conversations about mental health with young children. It aims to build a student’s sense of belonging, an understanding of themselves and others and provide strategies for effective help seeking behaviours. This program is mapped to the Australian curriculum and addresses the stigma surrounding mental illness. It also equips the whole school community (young people, teachers and the wider community) with effective strategies to seek help if they ever find themselves in a challenging situation.

MIEACT’s lived experience volunteer educators empower young people through storytelling. Evidence and experience shows that real life stories delivered to classroom size groups have a greater impact on youth. For the primary school audience MIEACT adapts volunteer educator’s lived experience stories with the vulnerabilities of a younger audience in mind. Sharing a children’s picture book is an engaging, age appropriate teaching tool used in the program to begin conversations around lived experience. It is through this resource that young children will begin to identify their feelings and ways that they can respond when they face challenges.

Through guided conversations the young children will begin to discover ways that they can seek help for themselves and others. This program provides children with a touch point to understand how to identify and articulate when things might be becoming too challenging to manage alone, when and how to seek help and ways in which they can help friends.

MIEACT strives to understand and meet the expectations of the clients (schools, parents and carers) with whom we work. MIEACT provide a range of evidence-informed programs tailored for school age students and workplaces. Our programs include powerful lived experience stories, delivered by Volunteer Educators living with mental illness, guided by our DoNOHarm Framework (c) 2011, a best practice approach to communicating about mental health issues.

What we universally know about young people is that the more we work to de-stigmatise mental health the bigger the impact we can have in empowering them to seek help.

Thriving Minds: Empowered Futures was initially piloted in partnership with two ACT Primary Schools in Year 3-4 including Holy Trinity School and Radford College. A total of 245 child participants were involved across the two schools with 103 (42%) completing the post-program evaluation and assessment6-10 weeks after delivery. A total of 9 Classroom teachers observed the program delivery.5 (56%) completing the post-program evaluation.

 89% of child participants rated the WHOLE program from 4-5 stars with ‘4 Star’ (23%) and ‘5 Star’ (65%).

“All of it. It all was really interesting and I have learnt a lot from these mini lessons about bullying it has been really inspiring.” -Child Participant

100% of Teachers felt the session was informative for participants who ‘Strongly Agree’ (28%) and ‘Agree’ (71%).

“MIEACT understands children’s minds and creates an engaging environment and lessons for children to relate to. They provide thought process and avenues for children to recognise who they can go to for help, if needed. It is a great starter program identifying various skills children can use to look after their own mental health and promote good mental health.” – Mel Punyer, Teacher, Holy Trinity School

A further pilot of the program will be delivered in 2022 thanks to the Canberra community to make any program or delivery adjustments in response to the changing environment of schools from the pandemic, with a full program delivery from Term 1, 2023.