Mental health—like physical health—is something we all have from birth, it can range from good to poor, and can also change over time.

Mental health doesn’t mean being happy all the time. Everyone knows what it’s like to be sad, angry, afraid, or upset. We all experience and express these feelings in different ways. 

Good mental health helps us form positive relationships with others, handle ups and downs, and generally enjoy life. With good mental health, children can feel confident and be more open to trying and learning new things.

Children grow and change quickly so the way they experience mental health, and the support they need from adults, can be quite different depending on their age.

If you need support, remember you can contact: Lifeline SANE,  beyondblue or the Australian Psychological Society

Mental health basics ... commonly asked questions

What is mental health in early childhood?  

How do mental health difficulties affect young children?

How can families and educators support children's mental health?

How can families and educators respond to children who may be experiencing mental health difficulties?

What can I do when a child becomes distressed after noticing that their parent or carer is leaving?

Are there other resources that I can look at?

Learn more about risk and protective factors 

Promoting mental health in early childhood

Risk and protective factors in early childhood

Mental health: Suggestions for families and staff

Mental health: Resources for families and staff

Stress, trauma and mental health difficulties

Most people will experience mental health difficulties at some point in their life, including children. While stress and trauma affects children differently depending on their age, personality and past experiences. Explore the connections between mental health, difficult times, stress and trauma.

About getting help 

What does getting help mean?

Getting help does not always mean seeing a professional—a close and trusted friend or family member can be a great source of support.

Getting help can also involve talking about a child’s mental health difficulties with a health professional, like a GP, a counsellor or a psychologist. 

Where do I start to seek help?

Remember asking for advice or support is the very best thing you can do for a child who is experiencing problems. And often, there are many things you can do to help improve their mental health.

How can I access support?

Where can I go for further information?

Supporting children with additional needs

Supporting children with additional needs enables them to participate and feel included; this also helps promote their strengths and may reduce their risk of developing mental health difficulties.

Additional needs: where to start?

Additional needs and mental health

Suggestions for families and educators

Resources for families and educators