Emerging Minds

General practice (GP)

Welcome to the General practice (GP) learning pathway. This pathway has been specifically curated for GPs and recognises the realities of general practice, the broad variety of doctor-patient relationships, and the array of circumstances that GPs work in. All the courses within it are fully accredited and have been developed together with GPs and families.

Australian children visit their general practitioner (GP) more than any other health professional.1,2 GPs will often see the same families for many years, enabling them to develop a strong, trusting relationship with both children and parents. Many signs of child mental health difficulties can be easily misunderstood or overlooked, but this ongoing relationship and comprehensive knowledge of the child and family puts GPs in a unique position to spot the signs of mental health concerns and intervene early to improve children’s outcomes.

This pathway acknowledges the challenges and complexities that you face in your everyday practice as a GP, along with the skills you are already using that can be applied to support children’s wellbeing. Developed together with GPs and families, the courses offer step-by-step guides for conducting infant and child mental health assessments, supporting families who have experienced a natural disaster, and holding preventative conversations with parents to buffer children from the impacts of adversity. Best of all, they can be completed at your own pace, anytime on your desktop, mobile device or tablet.

Learning outcomes

As you progress through this learning pathway you will build your understanding and skills across a range of areas, including:

  • entry points to engage in preventative conversations with parents about their children's social and emotional wellbeing
  • incorporating routine inquiry about children’s social and emotional wellbeing as part of appointments with parents
  • describing how adult issues can affect children’s social and emotional wellbeing
  • applying the six principles for engaging parents in conversations about adversity and children’s social and emotional wellbeing
  • using the PERCS Conversation Guide to have conversations with parents about children's social and emotional wellbeing
  • listing the key strengths and vulnerabilities that influence infant, early childhood and child mental health
  • prioritising the key engagement skills required as part of an infant, early childhood and child mental health assessment
  • developing practice skills which support effective engagement, assessment, and management of a child with mental health difficulties
  • identifying and assessing the common mental health difficulties in children aged 0 – 5 years and 5 – 12 years by undertaking a biopsychosocial mental health formulation
  • developing a comprehensive management plan related to common mental health concerns for children aged 0 – 5 years and 5 – 12 years
  • identifying ways that natural disasters and community trauma events impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing
  • identifying signs and symptoms of psychological distress in children; and,
  • determining appropriate resources to provide support to parents and families to help promote the resilience of their children.


  1. Lawrence, D., Johnson, S., Hafekost, J., Boterhoven de Haan, K., Sawyer, M., Ainley, J., & Zubrick, S. R. (2015). Table 2.2: 12-month prevalence of mental disorders among 4–17-year-olds by sex and age group. In The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents: Report on the Second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, p. 26. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health.
  2. Warren, D., Quinn, B., & Daraganova, G. (2020). Health service use among children at risk of social-emotional problems: Opportunities for early intervention. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and Emerging Minds.

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