Teacher helping students in a class

A new evidence-backed, video-led education program featuring TV, TikTok and sporting stars has been launched to improve mental health and well-being literacy for Australian students and teachers.

Decode Mental Health and Wellbeing, the flagship program of digital health studio Matterworks, has been developed and delivered in partnership with ANZ’s leading EdTech company Education Perfect and informed by researchers from Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, will create a valuable opportunity in classrooms to open up discussions around mental health.

Decode offers both a student and teacher program and takes life-changing health information and translates it into a digestible format. Specially tailored, the entertainment-style videos have been incorporated into structured and curriculum-aligned lessons to deliver strong learning outcomes. 

Decode’s student program consists of four topics across 64 lessons for year 5-8 students, offering a long-term approach to a shared understanding of mental health. Topics cover understanding what is mental health, looking at what’s happening inside the brain, emotions and feelings and relationships.

Professor Harriet Hiscock, Murdoch Children’s Group Leader, Health Services and Matterworks Chief Health Officer, who provided expert input into the program, said it would succeed where other interventions have struggled because Decode was informed by evidence-based research designed to build resilience and empathy in generations to come. 

Research from ongoing collaborator, Murdoch Children’s shows there is a significant mental health problem in schools, with 63 per cent of children aged 5-14 years experiencing a worsening of their mental health since returning to school post COVID-19.

“Schools are currently facing a mental health crisis, with 14 per cent of 4–17-year old’s living with a diagnosable mental health condition,” Professor Hiscock said.  

“It’s critical to start the process of building student’s mental health literacy from a young age so they feel armed with knowledge and tools to build resilience. Decode has been designed to do exactly that, using content creators with lived experiences who can deliver authentic messaging in language students understand.”

The multimedia series is hosted by JasmineTXO, a TikTok star with more than 5.8 million followers. The line-up also features neurodivergent disability rights advocate and Heartbreak High actor, Chloé Hayden, digital content creator Aya Al-Chalabi, National Basketball League players Xavier Munford, Mason Peatling and Reuben Te Rangi and influencers Olivia Archer and Kate Murdoch.

The videos are presented in an entertaining and engaging format with relatable, real-life stories that illustrate mental health concerns and provide actionable learning outcomes.

Education Perfect CEO Alex Burke said he was delighted that so many vibrant, young changemakers were involved in the program to engage young people.

“This platform ensures the content is delivered to students in a safe and controlled environment, with a standardised and flexible approach for teachers to ensure their peace of mind,” he said.

Decode also offers a tailored program for teachers that guides them through different facets of adolescent mental health and how to best support their students. Developed by well-being teachers for teachers and headlined by ABC journalist Mon Schafter and Professor Hiscock, the self-paced course includes understanding moods and behaviours in adolescents, recognising and understanding trauma, how to manage cyberbullying and how to create a gender-inclusive school environment. 

Studies have shown that while over 90 per cent of teachers say they have a significant understanding of youth mental health issues, only about 65 per cent believe they could confidently identify them.

Professor Hiscock said the comprehensive guides and the program’s intuitive delivery model would provide teachers with the confidence to support students in learning about challenging subjects. 

“We believe that Decode will vastly improve this percentage because it creates the opportunities for teachers to observe students while talking about mental health and to create conversations with the wider group or with individual students,” she said.

Decode is the first program released by Matterworks, aligned to their mission to humanise health research, disrupting the health and education sector with a novel approach aimed at empowering, preventing and creating change. 

Matterworks founders Kylie Robertson and Sarah Wyse said they hoped Decode would become a leading source of health literacy.

“Our vision with Decode is to focus on prevention rather than intervention, and in order to do that, we need to build mental health literacy in children and adolescents. With schools currently facing a mental health crisis, we hope to be a constructive and credible resource to improve the wellbeing of Australia’s youth,” said Ms Robertson. 

Decode Mental Health and Wellbeing is now available to primary and secondary schools nationally via Education Perfect. 

To find out more about the program, visit Matterworks.

About Murdoch Children’s Research Institute 

Murdoch Children's Research Institute is the largest child health research institute in Australia committed to making discoveries and developing treatments to improve child and adolescent health in Australia and around the world. They are pioneering new treatments, trialling better vaccines and improving ways of diagnosing and helping sick babies, children and adolescents. It is one of the only research institutes in Australia to offer genetic testing to find answers for families of children with previously undiagnosed conditions. 

About Matterworks

Matterworks is a digital Edutainment studio that creates entertainment-led and evidence-based learning products for the next generation and their families. Matterworks’ mission is to humanise health research. Leveraging generational media trends such as the use of Tik Tok amongst youth, the proliferation of health misinformation on social media, and young social media influencers and sports stars with lived experiences of mental health challenges, Matterworks is disrupting the health and education sector with a novel approach aimed at empowering, preventing and creating change. 

About Education Perfect (EP)  

Education Perfect is a complete online teaching and learning solution that empowers educators.  EP’s comprehensive content is targeted at students aged nine to 18 and fully aligns with local curricula to ensure that learning is creatively relevant, absorbing, and authentic. With resources spanning all core subjects, as well as languages, digital technology, and ESOL, EP provides a full programme of learning that can be completed in the classroom or at home and allows educators to truly personalise every student’s learning experience.