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Little Heroes Foundation and Breakthrough are joining forces to launch a youth mental health initiative: “Little Breakthrough Heroes: BIG TALKS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE”.

It’s a charity-first to collaborate in this way.

The two organisations saw the value in working together to address mental health issues that affect not only children, but their families, friends, teachers and the wider community.

It’s important that we provide early intervention and prevention strategies that equip children with the tools to ensure their wellbeing and resilience as they get older.

Little Heroes Chairman Chis McDermott said the collaboration between the two charities had been a highlight of his 25-year charity career.

“Children have always been our focus and we’ve been supported by some great people over the years and raised an incredible amount of money,” he said

“But mental health, and youth mental health, is going to be the biggest health challenge of our lifetime.

“That’s why it’s so important to work with like-minded organisations to achieve these big targets.”

The program, which was launched at Little Heroes Melbourne Cup Luncheon, is an eight-week module on mental health that gives children the tools and resources to help with resilience and anti-bullying. Teachers will role it out in eight pilot schools in term one of next year and it will feature an animation (created by Monkeystack) for each module to support it as well as a ‘friendship bench’ where students can talk to each other about what they’ve learnt in the modules.

It’s based on a previous program from Professor Phillip Slee from Flinders University and his team which has been trialled across Malta, Greece and Japan with incredible results. Its focus is on prevention through early and meaningful education.

The content is designed to be delivered by teachers, or on a student self-help basis, with the help of a wonderful animated visual to support the children’s learning and is delivered free of charge for schools.

Our goal is to raise enough money to have it in every school across the state.

Breakthrough Executive Director John Mannion said the statistics for youth mental health were alarming.

“If a child is bullied in primary school, there is a 56 per cent chance they’ll also be bullied in secondary school,” Mr Mannion said.

“That’s why this program is so important – we need to focus on early intervention and prevention.

“One in seven children between the ages of 4-17 have experienced a mental health issue in Australia. That’s not good enough. We need to do more to help our children.”

For more information on the project and to help fundraise, head to https://bigtalksforlittlepeople.raisely.com/

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