CHAMPS MAT Life Skills Program


What is Champs?

CHAMPS (Children and Mentally Ill Parents) is a peer support program for children of parents who have a mental illness or mental health issues. The CHAMPS programs are for children aged between 8 and 12 although we do sometimes have children a little older or younger depending on their maturity.  

CHAMPS is based on the belief that being a parent is both challenging and rewarding.  Most families experience a range of difficulties at some stage. Living with a mental illness or mental health issues can make coping with such difficulties and looking after children even more stressful.  All parents benefit from having breaks from their children.  Children, too, can benefit from spending time with other trusted adults and from other children who may be having similar experiences.  In this way they may be able to gain information and support about their parent’s illness.

Monash Health Adult Mental Health program is running the MAT Life Skills program.

What is the MAT Life Skills Program?

The MAT Life skills program is a physically active therapeutic program that combines the basics of behaviour management with the principles of traditional martial arts. It provides students with a structured opportunity to develop self-control and self esteem and it has been found it to be equally effective with both boys and girls, particularly those who display a lack of impulse control. It is our aim to teach students skills that they will transfer from the martial arts classes to other classes as well as to their behaviour in the schoolyard, at home, and in community contexts.

It is an eight-week program that focuses on teaching:

  • How to identify various feelings
  • Appropriate ways to respond to these feelings
  • How to self-invest to achieve a positive future

The program does not teach children how to fight. There is no instruction in street fighting, throwing or weapons techniques. It does teach basic self-defence techniques such as palm blocks and evasions. It aims to provide participants with opportunities to experience success.

The program works around four basic teachings:

  • Be Strong
  • Be Calm
  • Be Kind
  • Try Hard

Who runs the group?

The group will be facilitated by staff from the MAT Life Skills program and Natalie Papps (FaPMI coordinator at Monash Health) will attend too. Natalie coordinates referrals for the group and will speak to you by phone before the group commences to find out more about your situation and to check if the group is suitable for your child.

Is there a cost to attend? - There is no cost for children to attend the group.

We welcome opportunities to catch up with you either at the beginning or the end of group time or, over the phone.  Please let us know if your child is unable to attend for a week. We welcome your feedback and will be distributing evaluation forms at the end of the program. Please do not hesitate to contact Natalie on 0435684309 if you have any questions or concerns.

The group will run on Tuesdays from 4.00pm – 5.00pm for 8 weeks


July 31st

August 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th  

September 4th, 11th & 18th         

Venue: Link Health and Community, 9-15 Cooke St, Clayton, VIC 3168.


MATS_All-programs-referral-form-2018-v3.pdf MATS_All-programs-referral-form-2018-v3.pdf (325kB)