New team to support students

WITH one in seven children and young people aged 4-17, experiencing a mental health issue each year – a figure which is expected to blowout due to Covid – a new team of health professionals has been working behind the scenes to help address student wellbeing.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) established the team known as the “School-Link team” to work closely with health professionals and the education system to improve the mental health and educational outcomes for school aged children. It offers a free telephone consultation service which provides support to education staff and health clinicians who work with students.
WSLHD School-Link coordinator Carla Green says the consultation service has been operational since July 2020 and has received more than 60 calls from health professionals, teachers and counsellors who contact us wanting information on issues such as school refusal, stigma, transitioning from primary to secondary school or help finding the right health service
WSLHD Perinatal, Child and Youth Mental Health Services Clinical Director Dr Ashwini Padhi said the number of referrals reflected the increased mental health stress of children and young people in the current climate of Covid.
“Due to the demand for our service, we have implemented a follow-up call service,” Ashwini said.
“We re-contact health professionals, counsellors and teachers to discuss the progress of the recommendations and to ensure the right services were provided.
“The School-Link team recognises the importance of early access to the health services and where possible, reduce the need for hospital admission.”
The School-Link helpline is open Monday to Friday on 8890 5236 or 8890 6577, 8.30am-5pm, or email
This free service is available to health and education staff from both government and non-government organisations.
For 24-hour crisis services, contact: Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800; Lifeline: 13 11 14; Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636; and Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511.