The National Children's Mental
Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Australia has launched the world’s first National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy to support children from birth to 12 years, as well as the families and communities who nurture them.

The strategy, developed by the National Mental Health Commission supported by an expert advisory group, acknowledges every child has the right to be supported and grow in a safe and healthy environment.

It provides a nationally consistent framework to guide the development of a comprehensive, integrated system of services, as well as guiding critical investment in the mental health and wellbeing of children and families.

The strategy presents a roadmap that align with and supports the direction currently being taken in Queensland. It aims to ensure that children aged 0-12 have all the opportunities for growth and development possible.

Why do we need a strategy for children's mental health and wellbeing?

Mental health struggles are common and often start when we are children. About half of mental illness begins before 14 years old. More than 50 per cent of children experiencing mental health challenges are not receiving professional help.

We want all children to have good mental health and wellbeing. This means they feel safe, happy and supported, and have loving connections with family, friends, and community.

We need to help children feel their best because it helps everyone in their community. Children will grow up knowing how to look after their own mental health, where they can go for help and how they can support others.

We also need to support the families and communities that raise our children. Sometimes families are disadvantaged or in tough situations that make them more at risk of struggling with their mental health. By reducing disadvantage and helping families become mentally healthy, we ensure they have the time, energy and skills to keep their kids mentally healthy too.

An example of this is supporting the mental health of new parents or helping people who live in country areas have access to the same mental health services as those who live in the city.

What is the strategy?

Through four focus areas, the strategy outlines the requirements for an effective system of care for children:

Focus area 1: Family and community

Family and community talks about promoting mental health and wellbeing as part of parenting and how services can connect with families and communities better.


1.     Supported families
2.     Increased mental health literacy
3.     Community-driven approaches

Focus area 2: Service system

The Service System talks about the gaps in our mental health services, and how we can make it easier for children and their families to get help, especially when they have multiple complex issues or there are things preventing them from getting help.


1.     Improved system navigation
2.     Collaborative care
3.     Access and equity
4.     Built for complexity
5.     Skilled workforce

Focus area 3: Education settings

Education Settings talks about how important school and early learning environments are for children’s mental health and how we can better set up these environments to support kids.


1.     A wellbeing culture
2.     Targeted responses
3.     Well-equipped educators

Focus area 4: Evidence and evaluation

Evidence and Evaluation talks about how we can improve mental health services by making sure we are getting feedback from people who have used the services and using it to make things better. It also discusses why we need more research into children’s mental health and wellbeing.


1.     Meaningful data collection
2.     Embedded evaluation
High-quality research

What needs to happen next?

Now that the Children’s Strategy is finalised, the National Mental Health Commission proposes setting up a group in each state and territory who will be responsible for actioning the Children’s Strategy in their area.

This opportunity aligns with work progressing in Queensland across the government, non-government and private sectors with many opportunities to align and leverage for greater impact.

The National Mental Health Commission has offered to track their progress so we know what’s still to be done.

Read the strategy: