Journey of Hope: School-Based Psychosocial Support

Based in cognitive-behavioural therapy, this program helps children to identify, understand and normalise emotions, empowering them to cope and respond positively.

  • Tier: 
    • Tier 1: Positive Mental Health Promotion
    • Tier 2: Early Intervention Cohort Specific Support
  • Type of intervention: Disaster, grief and loss
  • Strength of evidence: Level 3: Foundational and emerging evidence for program
  • Geographic location: Statewide

Program description

Journey of Hope is a wellbeing program that equips children to identify, understand and normalise emotions, empowering them to cope and respond positively.  Based in cognitive behavioural therapy the program supports better student mental health and learning by developing prosocial behaviours, such as sharing, being helpful and other behaviours promoting positive relationships, therefore minimising risk factors for behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Skilled Facilitators work with students across eight modules that are tailored to the developmental needs of primary through to high school age children and are aligned to the Victorian school curriculum.

Intended outcomes

Immediate outcomes (1-3 months):

  • Students can talk about emotions and know how to handle them.
  • Students learn soft skills like problem solving and teamwork and feel more confident supporting their peers.
  • Students develop strategies to reduce their difficulties.
  • Students learn positive coping strategies like problem solving, emotional regulation, and expressing feelings.

Intermediate outcomes (3-6 months):

  • Students understand and normalise emotions including those related to trauma.
  • Students develop prosocial behaviours, such as sharing, being helpful and other behaviours promoting positive relationships.
  • Students show fewer difficulties risk factors including conduct problems, inattention, and poor peer relationships.
  • Students demonstrate improved coping strategies.

Long term outcomes (6+ months):

  • Students are engaged in learning and developmentally on track.

Program details

Target audience
  • Primary school students
  • Secondary school students
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • LGBTIQ+ students
  • Asylum seeker and refugee students
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse students
  • Students with disability
Program provider54 reasons (Save the Children Australia)
Delivery modeFace-to-face 
* Provider is able to adapt to providing services online if restrictions are reintroduced

Implementation considerations

  • Target population: Students from primary through to high school are supported to understand and normalise emotions equipping them with positive strategies, so that they have the tools and language they need to express themselves safely, cope with challenges and respond positively to strong emotions.
  • Program adaptability: Journey of Hope can be delivered flexibly to meet the psychosocial needs of primary and high school aged students, with adaptations for specific contexts including in response to floods, bushfires, COVID-19 or other events of collective trauma. For older age groups, in Grade 11 and 12, the program will be adapted into fewer sessions to enable easy integration into the existing curriculum. The program is culturally safe and adaptable and has been delivered with Aboriginal children and also used to support migrant and refugee children who arrived in Australia from the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis.
  • Staffing: Schools can consider staff backfilling if they would like teachers to participate, which can be accommodated but is not mandatory for the program to run.
  • Training requirements: School teachers and staff do not need to participate in any pre-requisite training before program delivery. Schools are only required to provide an appropriate space to facilitate 8 sessions and a dedicated school liaison person.
  • Factors to consider: The time commitment is 60 minutes per week per group for 8 weeks.
  • Australian context: Journey of Hope was originally developed in the US and first implemented after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It has since been delivered to more than 85,000 children globally, including an adaptation in New Zealand following the Christchurch earthquake. In Australia, Journey of Hope has been delivered to close to 10,000 children and young people in communities experiencing collective trauma such as bushfires, floods, and COVID-related impacts. Its effectiveness in the Australian context has been proven in partnership with the University of Melbourne


Item Cost


Detailed Cost

Journey of Hope costs $550 per student (inc. GST) for a group of 30 students, and is delivered for one hour a week over 8 weeks by 2 facilitators.

The minimum commitment for the program to run is for 3 groups of up to 10 (total 30) students per day. Schools in the same region can combine resources to meet the 30 person cap.

Additional costs include a mileage charge of 0.80 cents per kilometre inc. GST levied for regional areas, and accommodation and travel related cost calculated based on location.