Smiling Mind, Australia’s leading children’s mental health not-for-profit and the innovators behind Australia’s most trusted mental wellbeing app, launches today the Resilient Families Program, which will support children and parents with developing critical social and emotional skills, thanks to the support of the NSW Ministry of Health and VicHealth.
The program has been created by psychologists to help address the overwhelming mental health and wellbeing challenges that children and families are facing, with a goal of teaching skills that can proactively build and support resilience going forward.
Smiling Mind undertook participatory research with children aged 7-12 years and their families to deeply understand the key issues that families experience to inform the creation of a digital support program. Research revealed that families were seeking support to regain many of the social skills lost during the extended lockdowns of the pandemic, and to build resilience to cope with various life challenges. Many families expressed concerns related to interpersonal relationships, navigating emotions and general anxieties about the future, with nearly all children wanting topics on friendships.
Smiling Mind CEO, Dr Addie Wootten, stressed the importance of a proactive approach to mental health for young children, with research showing that half of all mental health issues emerge before the age of 14.
“Supporting children with a proactive approach to building resilience is vital in overcoming the mental health challenges we’re currently facing. We know these tools are urgently needed, particularly in the midst of an increasingly overburdened mental health system.”
— Dr Addie Wootten
“The Resilient Families Program will empower families to learn and develop their social and emotional skills from a young age in an accessible format, and the digital environment means that every family can have access from the comfort of their own home," Dr Wootten says.
This first release of the Resilient Families Program consists of six dedicated modules on relationships, emotions, self-worth, perspective-taking, flexible thinking and taking responsibility.
Each evidence-based module is designed to engage children with interactive activities, stories and meditations to build emotional awareness and resilience. Parent and caregiver resources accompany each module, with videos and practical support strategies to enable further understanding and confidence to reinforce children’s learning.
Minister for Mental Health NSW, Bronnie Taylor, said the Smiling Mind Resilient Families Program was another initiative to help support families and young people to build resilience and set them up for success.
“Major setbacks happen in life but knowing where to turn when you need a little more support can be life-saving. This new program will give young people, and their families, the tools they need to build resilience which in turn will lead to good mental health now and into the future.”
— Bronnie Taylor
Liss Gabb, Social Connection and Mental Wellbeing Manager at VicHealth, highlights the relevance of the program as families recover from COVID, with many still experiencing hardships.
“Social connection is essential for our mental wellbeing, especially for our young people. Programs like this allow young people to find opportunities to build their skills and resilience after a challenging few years".
— Lisa Gabb
Smiling Mind has been helping minds thrive for over 10 years by equipping young children with essential psychological skills to build their mental fitness. Their digital tools and primary school curriculum help children learn these skills in fun and interactive ways that are accessible anywhere and anytime.
You can learn more about the Resilient Families Program here