When a young person is experiencing a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, it is helpful for them to access professional help. This lesson will support your students in knowing how and where to access professional help.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies


Responsible decision-making

Relationship skills

Learning intention

Students develop an understanding of how to access professional help to support them through a mental health issue.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • understand some of the challenges in accessing professional help for a mental health difficulty

  • explain how and where to access professional help for a mental health difficulty.

Materials needed

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Refine protective behaviours and evaluate community resources to seek help for themselves and others (AC9HP8P08)

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate strategies for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety or wellbeing may be at risk (AC9HP10P08)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

  • Critical and Creative Thinking:

    • Reflecting

    • Inquiring

  • Digital Literacy:

    • Investigating

  • Intercultural Understanding:

    • Engaging with cultural and linguistic diversity

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Examines and evaluates strategies to manage current and future challenges (PD4-1)

  • Examines and demonstrates the role help-seeking strategies and behaviours play in supporting themselves and others (PD4-2)

  • Assesses their own and others’ capacity to reflect on and respond positively to challenges (PD5-1)

  • Researches and appraises the effectiveness of health information and support services available in the community (PD5-2)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Examine barriers to seeking support and evaluate strategies to overcome these (VCHPEP125)

  • Evaluate health information from a range of sources and apply to health decisions and situations (VCHPEP148)

  • Plan, rehearse and evaluate options (including CPR and first aid) for managing situations where their own or others’ health, safety and wellbeing may be at risk (VCHPEP144)

Show details

Activity 1

Case study video: Managing depression

15 minutes

  1. Students watch the video ‘How Bella managed depression’.

  2. Discuss with a partner:

    • What were some of the challenges Bella experienced in seeking help for her depression?

    • Why did Bella find ReachOut a helpful support service?

    • What other support services would have been helpful for Bella to access?

    • Answer: school counsellor, GP, Headspace, online supports and phone lines.

Activity 2

Health promotion: Accessing professional help

45 minutes

  1. Divide the class into groups of 3–4 students.

  2. Brainstorm different ways a health message can be conveyed – e.g. posters, social media, radio, TV commercials, articles.

  3. Students are to design a campaign that could be used to educate other students at their school on accessing professional help for mental health issues. Refer to the brainstorm activity above for ideas.

  4. For reliable information, refer students to the articles found at ReachOut.com under ‘Professional help’.

  5. Students may like to consider the following questions when designing their campaign:

    • How do you initially access a mental health professional?

    • What are the differences between a GP, counsellor, psychologist, psychiatrist, youth worker and social worker?

    • What are the rules around confidentiality for someone of their age?

    • What is a mental health plan, and how does someone their age access it?

    • How do you contact a helpline for a mental health issue?

    • How does accessing professional help benefit a young person?

Consider sharing the campaigns within the school community –e.g. by displaying posters, sharing social media posts, or playing a commercial at assembly. This activity could also be adapted into an assessment task.


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