Five Be You domains keep mental health in focus

This blog was originally posted in 2015 and updated in August 2020.

Everything you do with Be You influences children’s mental health and wellbeing: each domain helps you focus on a different part of the picture.

Initially it can be hard to put all the bits of the Be You Professional Learning together. As you work through it, you will notice the domains:

  • each have a different focus
  • encourage you to consider different perspectives
  • build on from each other
  • are complementary in many ways.

The ripple effects of actions undertaken for any domain can be far reaching and when combined with practices stemming from other domains, there can be even greater outcomes for the mental health and wellbeing of all children, families and educators.

Identifying connections between the five domains supports your engagement with Be You and promotes a whole-of-service approach. We have highlighted five of our top ways the domains connect for you.

Five ways the Be You domains connect

  1. Relationships are essential

A guiding principle of Be You is that children’s mental health develops within sensitive, nurturing and responsive relationships. Relationships between children, educators, families, and the wider community are essential in each component:

  • In Mentally Healthy Learning Communities, creating a community that supports mental health requires nurturing, positive relationships.  Achieving such a community supports children to feel respected and valued and promotes feelings of belonging and connection for everyone.
  • The Learning Resilience domain highlights how educators, through relationships, can provide valuable opportunities to support all aspects of children’s social and emotional learning and wellbeing.
  • Partnerships between educators and families, and relationships between families, are the focus of Family Partnerships domain.
  • The emphasis of the Early Support domain is on supporting children who are experiencing mental health difficulties. Strong relationships enable families and educators to work together and support connections with mental health professionals, when necessary.
  • The Responding Together domain is focused on empowering educators to recognise, understand and act to limit the potential impact of critical events on all members of their learning community.
  1. Embedding a whole learning community approach

Having a whole learning community commitment to each domain of Be You encourages the sharing of skills, knowledge, resources and a sense of unity through working towards common goals. Register as a Be You Learning Community today.

Whole learning community actions that demonstrate children’s mental health is a priority include:

  1. Using a mental health lens to set goals and review progress

The continual cycle of goal planning, setting, implementing and monitoring, underpins Be You.

Encourage reflection through a mental health lens to generate ideas, set goals and review current policies and practice. These tools can also highlight how individual and combined actions resulting from implementing Be You support children’s mental health.

By embedding Be You in your Quality Improvement Plan you can demonstrate how goals overlap and change accumulates. The goals your service identifies—such as building relationships or supporting children’s social and emotional skills, all work together to support children’s mental health.

  1. Encouraging reflection on policies and practices

Reflecting on learning throughout Be You can lead to the review of policies and practices.

Places to start include your Statement of Philosophy and other existing practices in your service that explicitly support children’s mental health.

Another option is to review those with subtler connections to mental health and consider the extent they reflect your service’s commitment to mental health and wellbeing.

Such policies or practices could include those that:

  • support new families in your service
  • enable educators to capitalise on everyday moments they share with children
  • determine how information sharing occurs
  • relate to marking milestones or times of transition.

Your reflections could also result in the development of additional policies or practices.

  1. Supporting Change

Within each domain, Be You offers a guided approach for implementing or supporting change.

Intended or unplanned change may occur in many areas, including:

  • organisational culture
  • relationships across your service
  • the physical environment
  • systems, processes and practice
  • individual and collective attitudes, knowledge and skills
  • reflective conversations and professional learning
  • curriculum decisions to support children’s social and emotional learning.

Whether big or small, change, and how we support it, can influence mental health and wellbeing.

Be You provides educators with knowledge, resources and strategies for helping children and young people achieve their best possible mental health. This article was first published by KidsMatter (now known as Be You) in 2015.

Be You

Early Childhood Australia’s Be You team is a highly qualified and experienced multidisciplinary team of professionals committed to promoting and supporting positive mental health and wellbeing in the early years. Together, with Be You partners, Beyond Blue and headspace, the ECA team support educators in implementing the Be You Professional Learning and continuous improvement processes across early learning services and schools.

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