Black Dog Institute

 

The Black Dog Institute is dedicated to understanding, preventing, and treating mental illness. The Black Dog Institute is about creating a world where mental illness is treated with the same level of concern, immediacy and seriousness as physical illness; where scientists work to discover the causes and new treatments of illness, and where discoveries are immediately put into practice through health services, technology, and community.

In 2019, The Balnaves Foundation introduced its inaugural Staff Grant. This is a grant of $100,000 chosen by The Balnaves Foundation staff.

The Black Dog Institute was selected as the first Staff Grant partner.

The grant will support the Black Dog Institute to deliver a three year roll-out of a large-scale evaluation of the “Building Educator’s skills in Adolescent Mental health” (BEAM) training program.

In Australia, over half a million young people have a mental illness and suicide is the leading cause of death among youth. Up to 50% of all mental illnesses first emerge during the high school years. As such, schools are integral for protecting and maintaining youth mental health.

Year Advisors or Year Co-ordinators play a vital role in this as they are responsible for the wellbeing of a particular year group. Many Year Advisors find themselves having to manage and respond to students’ mental health problems, but report no training, skills, or confidence to do this effectively and respectfully.

This project will deliver a new online training program to Australian Year Advisors to improve the care they provide to their students. The Black Dog Institute has developed the “Building Educator’s skills in Adolescent Mental health” (BEAM) program in partnership with teachers to upskill Year Advisors in identifying, responding to, and managing students’ mental health problems.

Through this training, Year Advisors will have increased knowledge of youth mental health and its impact on young people, increased confidence in their ability to help students, and increased helping behaviour and actions (e.g. identifying students, starting conversations, checking in, referring to other supports, engaging with parents and other teachers).

Overall, the aim is that this project will contribute to lowering the burden of mental illness among young people, their families and the community.

Find out more about the BEAM program here.