Mental health and education - children
It is important to seek early help from health professionals when you think a child's mental health is at risk. Mental health issues can affect your child's education and learning.
When to seek help
Get immediate advice if you are concerned that your child is at risk of harming themselves or others. See your doctor, contact your local Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) office, or your local hospital or the Women and Children's hospital.
When moods, emotions or behaviour persistently affect a persons ability to go about their daily business it's important that help is sought from a health professional.
To get a better understanding of what is going on you could:
- talk to your child to try to find out what is going on
- talk to your child's teacher or school counsellor to discuss your concerns - the school may have noticed changes in your child's behaviour and moods.
To get help and advice you can:
- call a telephone help line or access web based help
- talk to a health professional such as your doctor, a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or other mental health professional
- call your nearest Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) or a youth health service for advice.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
CAMHS therapy services are provided by a multi-disciplinary team of people which may include psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, nurses, speech pathologists, Aboriginal consultants and psychiatrists. All the clinicians have the expertise and experience to work with children and young people with emotional, behavioural and/or social difficulties. CAMHS can:
- provide free confidential therapy services for children and young people up to 18 years of age and their families
- accept referrals directly from parents, carers and young people 16 years and over
- provide interpreter services if necessary.
For more information contact the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service
Phone: (08) 8161 7198
These services provide confidential advice and their companion websites often provide useful information.
- Parent Helpline SA phone 1300 364 100 for parents of children from birth to 12 in South Australia
- Kids Helpline phone 1800 551 800
- Lifeline phone 13 11 14
- Alcohol and Drug Information Service phone 1300 131 340 (SA only)
- beyondblue info line phone 1300 224 636
- Women's and Children's Hospital phone 8161 7000
Online information and help
- Reach Out is an online youth mental health service. A range of help-seeking options, stories, videos, interactive forums and blogs are available for young people.
- Youthbeyondblue has a specific focus on young people aged 12 to 25 years. It has information and help options on depression, anxiety and associated drug and alcohol problems in young people. It includes offers ways for friends and family to support a young person going through a hard time.
- E-couch is an interactive self-help program for anxiety and depression. Young people can learn how to manage difficult times, how to think differently and how to change the way they interact with other people. Registration is free and users create their own user name and password. E-couch is also a great site for parents and children to sit and work through the program to come up with strategies to help.
- Child and Youth Health has mental health information and links for children (6 to 12 years), teens (13 to 17 years), young adults (18 to 25 years) and parents and carers.
- headspace provides early intervention mental health services for 12 to 25 year olds. The service covers mental health, physical health, work and study support, and alcohol and other drug services. Check the website for parent and carer information and to get information about South Australian centres.
- KidsMatter has parent and carer information sheets on topics such as coping with fears, understanding emotions and children with anxiety problems.
- beyondblue provides resources and creates awareness about depression, anxiety, bipolar and related disorders. You'll find symptom checklists, research, information and advice on where to get help.
- SHine SA (Sexual Health information networking and education) provides current information for people about sexual health and service contacts and offers a range of resources for the community.
Support provided by schools
To ensure your child is given the support they need at school it is important to advise the school or preschool about any mental health issue they may have.
If your child has a diagnosed mental health disorder you should:
- complete a health care plan with the help of the treating medical professional
- give a copy of the form to the school or preschool - they may need to develop a health support agreement to support your child's education and learning.
School staff are not trained health professionals and cannot diagnose or mental disorders or provide therapy. Schools will:
- raise concerns with parents, carers or health professionals if they observe behaviour or moods which may indicate that a young person is at risk of developing mental health problems
- develop a health support plan to support and the student's learning
- offer learning opportunities that promote wellbeing and mental health.