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19 February 2019

SYDNEY, Tuesday 19 February 2019 – UNICEF Australia welcomes the announcement today by the New South Wales Government of a significant investment into increased professional mental health support for public high school students.

“We know that access to qualified mental health professionals in schools is a positive model that will help young people,” said Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia.

“Today, UNICEF Australia released a report entitled ‘In their own words’, which highlights the need for mental health support in schools for children and young people living through the pressures of prolonged drought – initiatives such as the one announced today would help those children and communities a great deal,” said UNICEF Australia Senior Policy Advisor, Oliver White.

“Equipping teachers with the skills to have supportive conversations with students and teachers about mental health helps normalise speaking up. Community based responses such as these are important because the make mental health support for children accessible.”

Last year UNICEF spoke to and consulted with over 2000 children and young people across the country, finding that mental health was one of their key concerns.

“This is a much needed investment,” Mr Stuart said. “UNICEF Australia commends the NSW Government for increasing its support to the welfare of school students across the state – initiatives such as this help to provide a fair chance for all children.”