JavaScript is required

Preparing for the appointment

For appointments taking place at school, schools are encouraged to establish a counselling area within the school environment to allow safe access to the telephone counselling service. The counselling room is required to be a confidential, safe, quiet and comfortable environment. For further tips on creating this space, please refer to the Best Practice Guide – Establishing a counselling area in Victorian government schools to access the headspace Victorian Regional Telephone Service.

School absence for the purpose of attending counselling sessions

A fundamental element to the success of the EMHSS initiative is the ability for students to access confidential counselling services. This must be balanced with a schools’ duty of care obligations (see further information below), and the need to continue to monitor student absences, provide adequate supervision of students and maintain appropriate records.

When managing student absences from class for headspace appointments, schools must ensure the confidentiality of the student is prioritised - this is of particular importance in relation to parents or carers in the case of mature minors.

Schools are encouraged to establish protocols that suit the school’s unique context and existing systems, whilst maintaining the confidentiality of the student.

If documenting a student’s absence from class to attend a headspace appointment, the Department recommends the school notes only that the student is ‘Attending a Health and Wellbeing Appointment’ in student management software (if used) and that any specific reference to the details of their appointment, including that it is with a headspace clinician, is avoided.

Students should be able to discreetly attend headspace appointments without other staff members (other than those who need to know), students, or other members of the school community being informed or aware of their attendance at the appointment.

All staff (including casual relief teachers and specialist teachers) should be familiar with the school’s protocols to ensure students do not have to make a case for their absence each time they have an appointment.

Examples of effective systems may include:

  • informing those teachers who need to know at the start of the school day, which students have been granted leave for a headspace appointment
  • providing students with discreet real time appointment reminders
  • updating appointment information throughout the day and communicating this information to teachers who need to know without delay.