Response Ability

Response Ability: Education

Response Ability is an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. It is implemented by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, in partnership with universities and children's services educators throughout Australia.

Response Ability supports the preparation of teachers and children's services workers, by providing resources for use in their professional training. The aim of the program is to better prepare these professionals for their roles in mental health promotion, the prevention of mental illness, and early intervention.

The role of Teachers and Children's Services Educators

Supporting the social and emotional development and wellbeing of children and young people has been associated with better mental health outcomes, improved behaviour and higher academic achievement.

Teachers and children's services educators can help all children and young people by creating safe and supporting learning environments and by promoting positive social and emotional development across all stages of childhood and adolescence.

Teachers and children's services educators also have a role in identifying those children and young people who need further assessment or support and helping them to access other services - such as early intervention services, psychologists, family support agencies or school counsellors.


Teacher Education Resources

The Response Ability team provides free multimedia resources for use by lecturers and tutors in delivering teacher education programs. There are Response Ability components suitable for use in early childhood, primary, middle years and secondary teacher training.

The material uses a problem-based learning approach and consists of film scenarios with accompanying discussion questions or tutorial activities. There are also printed resources and web based materials designed to support both educators and tertiary students.

The project team has been guided by an Advisory Group made up of teacher educators from several tertiary institutions. The team has consulted extensively with teacher educators throughout Australia and continues to add to the resource suite to suit the changing context of teacher education.

Project team members have also met with representatives from the educations departments, Catholic education offices, independent schools bodies, and teacher accreditation organisations across all states and territories. Response Ability works in partnership with the national school-based mental health programs: Kidsmatter and MindMatters.


Children's Services Training Resources

The Response Ability project team offers a multimedia resource to support the training of children’s services students undertaking the Early Childhood Education and Care courses through Vocational Education and Training organisations.

This comprehensive resource package was developed in consultation with early childhood practitioners, industry peak bodies, and Vocational Education and Training educators. It encompasses the social and emotional development and wellbeing of children from birth to age six.

The material explores the roles of Children's Services educators in promoting positive social and emotional development for good mental health, working in partnership with families to support wellbeing, and assisting with early intervention.

This Vocational Education and Training for Children's Services resource uses a practical framework that covers strategies by which children's services educators can integrate mental health and wellbeing into their daily practice and contribute to positive health and learning outcomes for all children.


For Further Information:

Visit the Response Ability website at

To contact the project team, please email or telephone us on (02) 4924 6900.