Big Talks for Little People
Researchers: PROFESSOR PHILLIP SLEE AND ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR SHANE PILL
Priority Area: Youth Mental Health
The Big Talks for Little People Mental Health Classroom Module is a digital kit that aims to help students better understand their mental health and enhance their wellbeing. The program has six 40-minute lessons, each comprising a significant element of social and emotional learning and highlights the role of resilient and inclusive classrooms.
These skills are important to all children in terms of overall social development, perceptions of belonging, and promotion of overall mental wellness, as well as mitigation of the development of mental illness. The program has since been extended to investigate the prevalence of mental illness among those who attend out-of-school hours care and more recently, a new iteration has been funded to apply a culturally appropriate lens to the lessons.
The impact the program has created includes:
- Professor Ozgur Erdu Baker, Middle East Technical University, Ankara Turkey and her research team translated the program as part of a funded response to support children and families traumatised by the earthquakes in Turkey.
- In Shanghai, a Chinese version of the Big Talks program will be implemented among kindergarten and primary school-aged students, with a particular focus on children with autism in the short term. Ms. Kelly Xu is associated with international schools in China who aims to initiate a pilot of the Big Talks program at her school and establish connections with both local and international schools across China in order to advance the program’s promotion.
- Medibank Better Health Foundation awarded a $50,000 grant expansion for the translation of Breakthrough’s Big Talks for Little People program to be more culturally sensitive and inclusive for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders communities.
Plans are underway to develop a version of Big Talks program for use in sports clubs and in schools through the Health and PE curriculum.