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Minister recognises 18 year milestone of two innovative Hunter Institute of Mental Health programs

8 February 2016

Minister for Health, The Hon Sussan Ley MP has acknowledged Hunter Institute of Mental Health’s 18 year milestone running two Commonwealth funded programs.

For almost two decades, the Hunter Institute has been managing the Response Ability Teacher Education program and the Mindframe National Media Initiative.

Both projects work with tertiary educators focusing on the pre-service (university) training of professionals that have a role in suicide prevention and mental health, with funding from the Department of Health.

Response Ability targets pre-service training of secondary, primary and early childhood teachers, and early childhood educators.

Mindframe works with the media and other sectors that influence the media, including university education and training of future journalists and public relations professionals.

Hunter Institute Director Jaelea Skehan says the organisation is proud of the work it has done in developing these internationally innovative programs and the impact that they have had on our communities. 

“We know from research that investing in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing and prevention of mental ill-health leads not only to a more efficient use of mental health resources, it has a flow-on effect to a range of other health and community outcomes.  

“Both Response Ability and Mindframe have been instrumental in building the capacity of future media practitioners and teachers so that their professions can influence mental health promotion and suicide and mental ill-health prevention," she said.

Jaelea explained that if we want to achieve better outcomes for children, young people, families and communities, we must continue to aim higher and work collaboratively across sectors. 

"The Hunter Institute has worked closely with teacher educators, journalism educators, other academics and industry people in developing and managing these programs.

"We'd like to thank those who have given their support to the programs over the last 18 years, and acknowledge the considerable contribution they have made,” added Ms Skehan.

More information about both programs can be obtained via and

View: Infographic timeline of key milestones


Timeline of key milestones for the Response Ability and Mindframe programs.

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Message from Federal Minister for Health, The Hon Sussan Ley MP:

“I’m delighted to be able to acknowledge 18 years of collaboration between academics and educators from across Australia and the Hunter Institute of Mental Health to deliver key components of the government’s youth mental health and suicide prevention programs. 

“A wide array of professionals have a role in mental health and suicide prevention, including our health professionals as well as those working in other areas such as community services, emergency services, education and the media just to name a few. 

“The best time to prepare future practitioners for their role in mental health and suicide prevention is at the undergraduate level when they are forming their views about their profession and setting the foundation for future practice.

“Australia has been innovative in this area, by looking at the undergraduate training of professionals that may have a role in mental health and suicide prevention. 

“In 1997, with funding under our first youth suicide prevention strategy in Australia, the Hunter Institute of Mental Health worked with academics and educators from teaching and journalism to explore options of working together to develop approaches that would allow future teachers and future journalists to be exposed to these issues as part of their training at university. 

“This means that anyone studying to be a teacher or journalist has the opportunity to learn about mental health and suicide prevention as part of their training.  

“The Response Ability teacher education program now complements our national youth mental health and schools program in Australia, while the program for journalism education has been incorporated into the Mindframe National Media Initiative. 

“The Mindframe program has expanded in recent years to include curriculum materials for public relations and modern resources and case-studies that reflect the digital nature of media and communication. The program reaches over 2,000 graduates per year.

“I would like to personally thank the educators, academics and other industry people who have given their time, energy and expertise to these programs over the past 18 years.  

“I would like to particularly thank those, past and present, who have been members of one of the National advisory groups that support these programs; Those involved in the development and redevelopment of the programs as they expanded, and; The Hunter Institute staff who, over almost two decades, developed and managed these important resources funded by the Government.”