MAKINGtheLINK Health Promotion Program


Empowering young people to develop the skills needed to seek help early for mental health concerns before they emerge into their adult lives.

Register your interest today: Complete this form to express your interest

Together with students, parents, schools and partners, the MAKINGtheLINK project team will be building a scalable national solution to reduce mental health problems and alcohol and substance harms among students in Australia.

The adapted program will be created via a process of codesign, ensuring the digital program is consistent with how students consume information today.

The researchers are looking to work with a broad range of school types (including public and independent) from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds and diverse geographic locations throughout Australia.

How can schools get involved? 

Registrations are now open for government and independent secondary schools to engage in the co-design of the digital version of MAKINGtheLINK to ultimately help their students make the link to help to support their mental health.

Current opportunities include places on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (limited places), Community of Practice, co-design, pilot and randomised controlled trials of the new adaptation (Victoria only), as well as the scaled implementation (Australia-wide).

Register your interest today: Complete this form to express your interest

What is MAKINGtheLINK?

MAKINGtheLINK is an award-winning school-based program that empowers young people to support their peers to seek professional help for mental health and substance use. 

Aligned with the Australian school curriculum, the evidence-based health promotions program specifically targets middle adolescence, which is a crucial social and emotional developmental phase.

The program is delivered by school staff (i.e. teachers) and equips Year 9 students with the knowledge and skills to identify mental health issues early and help their peers access professional help.

Why is it important?

Getting professional help early for any mental health concerns is crucial to improving life outcomes. However, young people are often reluctant to seek help, particularly from health professionals. When they do, they typically turn to their peers, who often do not have the necessary knowledge or skills to support their friends. 

By building students’ knowledge and practical skills in supporting their friends, MAKINGtheLINK breaks down barriers and promotes professional help-seeking.

The program also empowers young people to build a culture of peer support, encourages earlier intervention for young people at risk, and builds awareness of local services and support among the whole school community.

By implementing MAKINGtheLINK, government and independent schools can play an active role in encouraging young people to help each other find the pathway that works for each individual to get support for their mental health and thrive into adulthood. 

Is it effective?

Stage I of the program was found to be effective in improving help-seeking and peer support by changing adolescents’ attitudes and intentions around alcohol and drug harms.

The large, randomised controlled trial of MAKINGtheLINK in 22 schools involving almost 2,500 students across metropolitan Melbourne found that students in the program were more likely to seek professional help, feel more confident about supporting their peers and report a reduction in stigmatising attitudes.

To our knowledge, this program is the first internationally to show sustained changes in adolescents’ attitudes and intentions about mental health and substance use, while also improving actual help-seeking.

MAKINGtheLINK is designed to reach the whole school population, which makes it accessible to young people from marginalised groups.

Together, we have an opportunity to develop a scalable intervention to reduce mental health, alcohol and substance harms among students in Australia.

Complete this form to express your interest

Project Overview

The MAKINGtheLINK project is a partnership between Turning Point, headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, Eastern Health, the Victorian Department of Education and the Australian Secondary Principals' Association.

Chief Investigators: Prof Dan Lubman, Prof Patrick Olivier, A/Prof Christine Grove, Dr Alex Waddell, Dr Ali Cheetham, Dr Bosco Rowland, Dr Roisin McNaney, Dr Jue Xie, Jodie Matar, Prof Deb Rickwood

Participating institutions: Monash University, RMIT University and the University of Canberra


A Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Maternal Health and Healthy Lifestyles Grant has been awarded to fund the development of a co-designed digital adaptation of MAKINGtheLINK over the next four years.


Find out more about the program

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