Survey of School Promotion of Emotional and Social Health (SSPESH)


The Survey of School Promotion of Emotional and Social Health (SSPESH) is a brief 15-item questionnaire that gathers information about the implementation and range of whole-school student mental health and wellbeing programs being delivered in NSW primary schools (across the public, Catholic, and Independent education sectors).

Principals of schools where Year 6 students took part in the Middle Childhood Survey of mental health and wellbeing in 2015 were invited to provide information about their school’s current delivery of student mental health promotion programs (e.g., social and emotional learning programs delivered to all children in the school).

The SSPESH was conducted in partnership with the Principals Australia Institute (PAI), with funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Data from the SSPESH is being combined with other information gathered in the NSW Child Development Study (including the recent Middle Childhood Survey) in order to determine the influence of whole-school mental health promotion programs on children’s mental health and well-being.

How is the SSPESH completed?

The survey takes only a few minutes to complete. Principals (or their nominated representative) from each public, Independent, and Catholic primary school in NSW who participated in the 2015 Middle Childhood Survey (MCS) will receive an invitation to complete the survey by email on 20 October 2015.

The email contains a unique link to the survey for their school. Survey information is stored using school codes - no personal information is requested about the Principal or any other school personnel or students. Responses are recorded using survey software managed by PAI, on behalf of the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

How will the information be used?

Findings will be used to inform school-based policy and practice developments to foster mental health and wellbeing in early and middle childhood. The survey data will remain the property of UNSW, and primary data analyses are being undertaken by the NSW Child Development Study team in collaboration with our research partners and stakeholders.

The data will provide a snapshot of the nature, range, and extent of implementation of universal mental health promotion programs in NSW primary schools.

Using school codes, the school-level data on mental health promotion programming delivered in each school (obtained from the SSPESH) will be linked with the individual mental health and wellbeing survey data of each child enrolled at that school (obtained from the MCS). The information will be used to determine the influence of school mental health promotion programs on children’s mental health and well-being, and can be used by schools, governments, and other agencies/organisations to help develop policies and programs to promote mental health and wellbeing for all children.

How is privacy maintained?

Information was gathered by school code, and Principals (or their representative) can not be personally identified with their responses. Data is stored securely on password-protected servers, and access to the data is restricted to the research team.

Ethical approval for the SSPESH has been obtained from the UNSW Health Research Ethics Committee (Reference Number HC14307), in accordance with the National Statement on Ethical Conduct of Human Research (including associated Guidelines approved under Section 95A of the Privacy Act 1988 relevant to Catholic and Independent schools, and Section 41 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 relevant to NSW public schools).