The framework identifies 4 areas or ‘components’ that schools and early childhood education and care (ECEC) services can use to focus their efforts in supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Component 1 focuses on building a sense of community within the school or ECEC service as the foundation for good mental health and wellbeing.
A sense of community promotes feelings of belonging and connectedness in all children, families and staff, and has shown to have a positive effect on children’s mental health.
This component emphasises the importance of inclusion and positive relationships for the benefit of entire school and ECEC communities.
Component 2 recognises that social and emotional development in children occurs in the context of warm and responsive relationships.
Research has shown that the development of social and emotional skills is important for good mental health, and also benefits academic learning, the formation of values, and a willingness to achieve and cooperate.
This component emphasises the importance of explicitly teaching and modelling these skills.
Component 3 recognises that families and parenting are central to children’s mental health.
Researchers have identified a range of family-related risk and protective factors that impact upon children’s mental health, which are influenced by one’s access to quality information, support networks, and professional help when needed.
This component emphasises the importance of working with parents and carers to strengthen the mental health of children in a holistic way.
Component 4 focuses on up-skilling education and care staff to recognise and respond to children experiencing mental difficulties.
Mental health problems can limit a child’s capacity to learn and develop relationships, and their ability to make successful life transitions, learn, and progress in the longer term.
This component emphasises the importance of intervening early, and having effective policies and procedures to assist families in accessing appropriate health and community services.