Mentally Healthy Schools

Please enter an image description.

Keeping mentally and physically active, having good friends, helping others and learning new things not only builds self-esteem and confidence, it also can reduce stress and help with academic outcomes.

Many mental health problems and disorders have a peak age onset in childhood or adolescence, therefore teaching mentally healthy behaviours early on in life helps to increase confidence, resilience and self-esteem and reduce the chances of a young person developing mental health problems when they are older.

The Mentally Healthy Schools Framework, developed by Mentally Healthy WA with support from Chevron Australia, provides school staff with the guidance, resources and training on embedding the Act-Belong-Commit ethos into the whole school setting to boost mental health and wellbeing of both students and staff and prevent the onset of mental health problems.

"A sense of belonging and acceptance can only lead to happy and content people in the workplace or school. Our kids and families do it tough and the Act-Belong-Commit program / philosophy very often fills many voids."

- Principal, Orelia Primary School

Act-Belong-Commit within the school community

Schools have emerged as having a significant role in mental health promotion for children and adolescents since young people spend almost half their waking lives at school. The school setting is ideal for the Act-Belong-Commit campaign as there are many opportunities for students to be active, develop a strong sense of belonging and add meaning and purpose to their lives.

Do something
Stay physically, socially, spiritually and mentally active. Walk or ride to school, kick the footy with some mates, meditate or complete a crossword puzzle. Do things you enjoy and do them more often! 

Do something with someone
Build a sense of belonging by keeping up friendships, staying close to family and joining in community events or school activities, such as the school photography club, a local sporting team or a walking or running group.

Do something meaningful
Make a commitment to an interest or cause that provides meaning and purpose in life, such as volunteering, or challenge yourself by participating in a fun-run.

How does it work?

The Mentally Healthy Schools Program is based on the Health Promoting Schools Framework that provides ways to embed the Act-Belong-Commit Campaign within the classroom, school environment and the whole school community.

The Health Promoting Schools Framework
Figure 1: The Health Promoting Schools Framework

By becoming a Mentally Healthy School, schools receive access to a range of resources, merchandise and signage. They also receive assistance from a dedicated Program Coordinator to assist with planning projects and events, publicity, grant application writing, and training in Act-Belong-Commit message delivery.

What are the benefits? 

  • Reduces stigma
  • Positive, encouraging message
  • Receive $150 worth of Act-Belong-Commit merchandise annually
  • FREE to sign-up
  • Flexible and simple to implement

Please enter an image description.

You can read the 2018 Mentally Healthy Schools Impact Evaluation Report here.

To find out more about the program or how your school can become more mentally healthy, contact Schools Program Coordinator Phoebe Joyce on (08) 9266 1873 or email

"By promoting the Act, Belong, Commit message frequently, we are seeing students and staff become more positive, resilient and mentally healthy."

- Wellbeing Coordinator, Karratha Senior High School

Case Study: Mount Lawley Senior High School

We joined the Mentally Healthy Schools Program in 2014 as we were keen to promote and raise awareness of the importance of good mental health. We wanted to take a whole school approach and work with a program which was recognised , accessible and credible with ALL members of the school community, regardless of background, age or ethnicity.

The first step we took was to establish a Student Wellbeing Committee to help drive the Act-Belong-Commit message within the school community. This committee is student driven with guidance and support from the Healthy Active Coordinator. This group arranged lunchtime activities, information stands and promotions for mental health days and they encouraged involvement of all year groups.

Please enter an image description.

The Act-Belong-Commit message was promoted in assemblies, newsletters and on social media. Students were presented with Act-Belong-Commit prizes for involvement, volunteering, random acts of kindness and generally embodying the Act-Belong-Commit principles. Year 7 students took a whole term to focus on the program and follow the lessons and activities worksheets to promote positive mental health and Act-Belong-Commit. Staff were offered similar opportunities to boost their mental health and wellbeing through staff competitions, health newsletters and mental health promotions being run. We established a fortnightly “Act-Belong-Commit” Coffee Club as an informal way for parents to get involved with the school through regular catch ups and then helping out with events like Year 7 orientation and the second-hand uniform sales.

The resources, and support we have received has been exceptional and has ensured that this program and the importance of good mental health can be promoted easily and well to the school community. The students have definitely embraced the importance of mental health and the Act Belong Commit program. The number of students involved in competitions and also in volunteering for school committees has increased.

 - Suzie Barnes, Healthy Active Coordinator, Mount Lawley Senior High School

How can my school get involved?

The great thing about the Mentally Healthy Schools Program is how flexible and adaptive it is. Each individual school decides how promotion of the Act-Belong-Commit principles are done in their school community. There are many options for all different needs, demographics, resources and capacities. 

Any primary or secondary school in Western Australia can partner with us to promote the Act-Belong-Commit message. To find out more about the program or how your school can become more mentally healthy, contact Schools Program Coordinator Phoebe Joyce on (08) 9266 1873 or email