Building positive mental health assets to immunise children and young people against mental illness :

  • Increasing the wellbeing and resilience of children and young people

  • Promoting the application of positive psychology within schools

  • Undertaking research to further the understanding of best-practice within positive education

  • Reducing the incidence of mental health disorders in young people

Why focus on Positive Education in schools?

One in two Australians will experience a mental health disorder during their lifetime, with 75% of all serious mental health conditions starting before the age of 25[1].  25% of all young people (aged 15-19 years) have a mental health disorder and one in three young people experience moderate to high levels of psychological distress[2]. This includes depression, anxiety, poor body image and substance abuse[3] [4] [5].

 Mental health is a prerequisite for effective learning[6].

Research suggests that wellbeing and academic success are interrelated and mutually supportive. Students with higher levels of wellbeing display stronger academic achievement and lower school absences [7] [8].

A focus on wellbeing, specifically engagement, increases student motivation and self-regulation, leading to greater school enjoyment and higher academic results[9].

We believe our focus on improving the wellbeing of young people will help lay the foundation for a resilient and mentally-fit generation. The long-term benefits may well impact the personal, social and economic success of Australia, in decades to come.

Skills and mindsets that elevate PERMA+ can be taught explicitly within schools. 

The Wellbeing and Resilience Centre advocates a whole-school approach to positive education, which embeds positive psychology principles into its ‘DNA’, using strategies that lead, measure, build and embed these principles. Ongoing evaluation ensures interventions are targeted and assessed to maximise efficacy and relevance.


  • Co-create strategies to develop a whole school approach to positive education


  • Measure baseline student wellbeing and resilience using

  • PERMA+ Youth 

  • Align with the wellbeing measures already in use by the Department for Education and Child Development



  • Advise on best-practice teaching resources for embedding PERMA+ in policies and practices within a whole school approach

  • Provide information about world class evidenced based interventions 

  • Provide opportunities to connect and learn from other schools on the journey

Partnerships and collaborations:

SAHMRI’s Wellbeing and Resilience Centre works collaboratively with other organisations committed to increasing the wellbeing of South Australian children and youth. These relationships include:

  • Department of Education and Child Development (DECD)

  • Lincoln College

  • Catholic Education South Australia

  • Northern Connections

  • Fraser Mustard Centre


  • Mount Barker High School

  • Trinity College

  • Blackwood High School

  • Seymour College

  • St. Peters College,  Adelaide

  • Flinders University

  • Central Queensland University

Over 100 South Australian schools have reported that they are actively involved in building wellbeing using positive psychology.

[1] Counting the Cost Report,, 2012
[2] Australian Government Office for Youth, 2009
[3] ABS, 2008
[4] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2007
[5] Mission Australia, 2007
[6] Hendren, Weisen & Orley, 1994. 

[7] Durlack et al., 2011 
[8] Keyes and Annas 2009 
[9] Froh et al., 2010


Positive education has been embraced by many schools across the state, with marked benefits in optimism already being felt

Professor Martin Seligman discusses the benefits of teaching wellbeing and resilience skills to teachers

Educationalists discuss Wellbeing and Resilience training as provided by the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre