SKIPS History

The SKIPS program was originally developed by EACH Ltd and Eastern Health in 2000 as a mental health promotion program for children of parents with mental illness in response to the identified need to have a program run in primary schools to support staff in their role of supporting children who have a parent with mental illness.

Vicki Cowling OAM (Medal Of Order Australia), Mental Health Social Worker and registered Psychologist, Rose Cuff, Victorian State wide FaPMI (Families of Parents with Mental Illness) co-ordinator and Peter Ruzyla EACH CEO initiate the project.

The SKIPS project team, Becca Allchin (Eastern Health), Julie Malmborg, Leigh Candy and Andrew Joyce (all from EACH) developed and trialled the program in 2000 with the assistance of initial funding from the Precision Foundation.

The SKIPS reference group which has been  made up of various members including people from EACH, Eastern Health, Schools, Local Government and Consumer representatives has been the back bone and support of the program over the last 12 years.

SKIPS has been evaluated from the pilot stage and this evaluation can be found in: Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2003, v14 n3, pp216-218 - Primary schools: opportune settings for changing attitudes and promoting mental health by Andrew Joyce, Becca Allchin, Julie Malmborg, Leigh Candy and Vicki Cowling.

SKIPS has run largely unfunded since the initial seed funding in 2000 but in recognition of the value of the program, EACH continued to deliver the program locally and created a SKIPS co-ordinator position in 2007.

In 2012 the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing Community  Services and Indigenous Affairs funded a project to redevelop SKIPS as a national program.