On 27 November 2014, in partnership with the  Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN), KidsMatter held a free professional development webinar, ‘We Do Better Together: Supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Primary School Children and their Families’. This was based on the  case study [62KB]  of the Harper family, who have a seven-year-old son and a ten-year-old daughter.

Panellists shared their perspective on supporting the Harper family with the challenges they faced and explored strategies to help the children and family. What factors will promote the family’s mental health and wellbeing? What can done to assist both children? And more broadly, how can schools build effective partnerships to support children’s mental health and wellbeing? The case study was designed to be open ended in order to raise questions, provoke thought and generate discussion.

Through an inter-disciplinary panel discussion about the Harper family, at the completion of the webinar participants will:

  • Develop an increased awareness of the benefits of collaboration between mental health practitioners across primary school, health and community settings
  • Develop strategies to achieve effective and timely collaboration to support primary school-aged children experiencing mental health difficulties and their families
  • Develop an increased awareness of the benefits and opportunities for involvement with initiatives such as KidsMatter when working with primary school-aged children

You can also watch the video, download the audio of the webinar, plus all the resources from the day are also available below.

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Dr Lyn O’Grady (Community Psychologist)
Lyn O’Grady is an experienced Community Psychologist with a particular interest in the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and
families. Lyn’s work history has included roles within the education, health and community sectors. She has worked with parents in parenting programs and individually at the community level and in schools for over 20 years. Lyn also worked as a school psychologist in the Western Metropolitan Region of Melbourne. She has also worked at a more systemic level with the  Student Wellbeing Units of the Catholic Education Office Melbourne and the Victorian Department of Education and  Early Childhood Development and as the National Project Manager for KidsMatter at the Australian Psychological Society. Lyn worked with a national team to develop mental health resources and form partnerships with the health sector to support schools in improving children’s mental health outcomes. 
Associate Professor Michael Fasher (General Practitioner)
Associate Professor Michael Fasher has been a general practitioner in Blacktown NSW for 35 years. He is particularly interested in paediatric and
adolescent medicine in general practice. He teaches medical students from the University of Sydney and the University of Western Sydney and registrars in the GP training program.
Ms Sally Young (Social Worker)
Ms Sally Young is a Principal Social Worker at Mater Child and Youth Mental Health and works as a psychotherapist in private practice. She has done post-graduate training at the Tavistock Clinic, London and has completed the BCPS Child Psychotherapy Course. She is the Vice President of the Queensland Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association. 
Ms Sarah Letho (Psychologist/Primary Welfare Officer)
Sarah Letho is a Psychologist who has worked with the Department of Education and Early Childhood for the past four years. Sarah is employed as a Student Support Services Officer (SSSO) and a Primary Welfare Officer (PWO) at Kingsley Park Primary School. As her role as a PWO, Sarah has brought the KidsMatter initiative to her school and is the Action Team Leader for the school. KidsMatter is now an integral part of how the school operates and we have used the initiative to help the overall wellbeing of children and supporting families at Kingsley Park. 
Vicki Cowling (OAM)
Vicki Cowling, OAM, is a clinical social worker and registered psychologist working as an independent practitioner in child and family mental health. Vicki has worked with children and families in government and non-government settings, including public child and adolescent mental health services, in Victoria and New South Wales. She has also held positions in the field of mental health promotion, and has conducted research concerning children of parents with mental illness and their families. This work has led to the publication of several articles, and edited books, the most recent being Infants of Parents with Mental Illness. 


Download the audio [49MB]

MHPN KidsMatter webinar slides [456KB]

Case study of the Harper family [62KB]

Other useful resources [279KB]