SHINE Mental Health

The SHINE Mental Health project is an initiative which offers services for children and parents where mental health issues are already a concern within the family. Specialist help is available for children who have a parent with a mental illness and also for those children showing early signs of mental illness.

FamilyLife_0033-300x199logo with SHINE spelled out


With support from the Australian Government, Family Life runs the innovative SHINE Mental Health Project which supports vulnerable children aged 5-18 and their families, who live in the Casey and Greater Dandenong (Victoria) districts.

SHINE focuses on early intervention and prevention and aims to reduce the risk of a child experiencing a mental health problem by helping them to strengthen their resilience and coping skills.

Thumbnail SHINE brochure for adults         Updated Thumbnail brochure for children


How Family Life SHINE Works

Family Life specialist staff work with whole classes in schools helping children to develop strategies for coping with stressful situations and improve their self-confidence.

Children who display early signs of having a mental health problem, such as anxiety, depression or a conduct disorder receive specialist help at school and with their families.

The Family Life SHINE Project incorporates aspects of the ‘FRIENDS For Life’ program, a school-based anxiety prevention program.

Benefits of Family Life SHINE

  • Early intervention offers a better life for the child
  • Prevention through early intervention reduces costs for the community
  • Schools receive specialist support
  • Families learn new skills for coping when a family member has a mental health problem
  • Evaluation of the Family Life SHINE project will contribute to the Australian Mental Health Framework

Since 2008, the SHINE Project has :

  • Provided specialist groups for boys displaying aggression and violence
  • Provided specialist groups for children who had experienced violence prior to moving to a women’s refuge
  • Ran programs and support for children whose parents have a mental illness
  • Provided a specialist group for girls displaying self-harming behaviour
  • Provided education and information activities to promote mental health awareness through mental health forums and exhibitions, community festivals, and parent information evenings
  • Provided linkages for indigenous communities to access mental health support services


“It helps me be more positive and confident about being happy to be myself.”
Grade 4 Student in the SHINE Project

Did you know…………

  • 13% of 10-14 year olds in Australia have a mental health issue and most were not receiving professional help.1
  • 74% of 21 year olds with a mental health disorder had a developmental history of a mental disorder.2
  • International research recommends targeted interventions at this life stage to mediate specific risks and enhance protective factors.3

1 – Child and Adolescent component of the National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (Sawyer et al 2000)
2 – (Zubrick et al 1999:572)
3 – (Giesen, Searle & Sawyer 2006)


SHINE Evaluation found improved mental health and well-being for children and their families:



  • Children and parents reported improvements in child health and well-being, including their behaviour and anxiety
  • Parents reported improved family relationships and communication
  • Children and parents reported learning new skills and strategies to manage emotions and behaviours
  • Children, young people and parents reported an increased awareness and understanding of mental health and well-being
  • Participants reported a high level of engagement and satisfaction with the diverse range of SHINE services


For more information  about the SHINE program phone Family Life Frankston on 03 9770 0341 or email