Bupa says a recent report has revealed that the Kids Helpline @ School program delivered in a partnership between its foundation and Kids Helpline doubled its reach to 55,000 primary school students across 325 schools during 2021.
It said the program, which supports counsellors in primary school classrooms and homes via video link, is aiming to reach a further 55,000 young people in 2022.
The early intervention program is available free to all primary schools across the country, providing evidence-informed lessons that are fun and educational and promote mental health and resilience strategies for children who are growing up in an ever-changing world. To date, the Bupa Foundation has committed more than $1.45 million to the Kids Helpline partnership.
Tracy Adams, CEO of yourtown, which runs Kids Helpline, said the program helps children with practical ways to manage their mental health and wellbeing.
“Children in Australia are bearing the brunt of a global environment characterised by change, crisis, and uncertainty. It’s our responsibility to equip as many of them as possible with the tools they need to stay mentally healthy, resilient and to keep themselves safe,” said Ms Adams.
"The Kids Helpline @ School program has proved to be a fantastic way to connect with more children in addition to the delivery of Kids Helpline’s current suite of virtual counselling options – telephone, WebChat and email counselling, and to show students where to find help when they need it."
Bupa said that surveys conducted following the sessions showed an encouraging level of impact for both students and teachers.
The surveys indicated that, after the sessions, around 90 per cent of students could identify ways to find help and 80 per cent would recommend Kids Helpline to a friend if they were experiencing distress.
Of the eighteen sessions on offer, the most popular across all grade levels addressed key topics such as emotional management, developing resilience and help-seeking.
Bupa Asia Pacific CEO Hisham El-Ansary said, “Investing in innovative prevention and early intervention mental health programs is vital for ensuring children can thrive and live up to their full potential. It teaches them that it’s completely OK to ask for help when you need it.
“We are really pleased that through the Bupa Foundation, we’re able to make a tangible contribution to improving the wellbeing of young Australians."