Celebrating Our SHINE Program

By Zoe Hopper March 2, 2021

In January 2008, Family Life commenced the Support, Help, Information Networks and Education (SHINE) pilot project in two Southern metropolitan regions of Melbourne.

The SHINE program began as an early intervention and prevention program designed to interrupt the progression of emerging and enduring mental illness for children and young people. Since then, SHINE has provided mental health support in universal and community settings through both outreach and school-based activities.

SHINE is a unique service filling a significant gap in the area of children’s and young people’s mental health, supporting clients who do not qualify for more clinical mental health services. 76% of our clients would not qualify for another service due to their age.

The key vulnerabilities experienced by clients of the SHINE program include poor mental health and limited emotional support, relationship concerns, poor self-esteem and self-worth, difficulty at school; problems with boundaries and behaviour; and the impact of experiences of family violence.

The quality of service provision is informed by theory related to trauma, cultural awareness and ecological systems theory. Key successful elements include: assertive outreach, trustworthy mentor/ role modelling, non-clinical and friendly approach, capacity to understand and connect with the children, whole-of-family approach, relevant resources, and a culturally appropriate service.

The program is testament to the rapidly growing body of research highlighting the necessity of intervening early in life, and early in the life of the problem. This is paramount due to the current worldwide impacts of Coronavirus, where modelling suggests that there may be a 25% increase in suicides, and it is likely that about 30% of those will be among young people.

We are pleased to advise that the SHINE project has been refunded through the Department of Social Services for a further 5 years. To read the full performance and impact report focusing specifically on the SHINE program please click here

<The worker> definitely took into account our cultural needs, we’re Middle Eastern Australian. <The worker> is really quite considerate and caring.” (interview with a caregiver)

“She (SHINE practitioner) taught me a lot about dealing with his anger. Taking things a bit calmer and not making a big deal of some things. There is a lot of calmness and peace in the family now.”(interview with a caregiver)

“SHINE is unique because it covers the service gap by working with children 0-18; it’s easily accessible; has a focus on early intervention; works with the whole family; and has a unique way of working – environments where the children feel safe and comfortable and friendly for kids.” (practitioner focus group participant)


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