Your commitment to mental health and the VIP Programme implementation have a great impact on the teachers’ attitude toward the programme. It is natural to face some resistance from a few teachers. They can be uncomfortable with the topic and feel that it is outside their field of expertise. This is why your support in the implementation process and your understanding of the teachers’ perspective are so important.
Welcome as a VIP Coordinator!
There are many exciting steps in coordinating the VIP Programme at your school. On these pages, we have made an attempt to guide you through the process. If you are coordinating the programme at a larger school, we recommend that the school have a VIP team so you can delegate tasks and have someone to discuss things with. Examples of the people who could be part of the VIP team along with you are: adviser, department manager, school nurse, a PPT (Educational and Psychological Counselling Service) representative, and librarian. The team can include two or more people.
Once your school has completed and evaluated the VIP Programme, it is time to plan next year's implementation. You can find some advice on this under “Second Year Implementation”.
As a VIP coordinator, you can also get a chance to attend network meetings in your region. If you wish, we can also send you suggestions of relevant courses and conferences in the field of mental health in school.
Thanks again for being the VIP coordinator for your school. We hope that this important work will bring you joy. Remember that we are here for you if you have any questions or need anything. Good luck with the implementation!
Preparing for Implementation
As a VIP coordinator, you are responsible for ensuring that the school conducts a training conference (possibly an opening meeting) and class visits in accordance with the VIP programme. You and your VIP team will be the school's hosts for external and internal trainers and participants.
We recommend providing school staff with information in good time, both in writing and orally, so that they know what to expect from a training conference and the VIP Programme in general. You may want to repeat the information several times, as well as remind the teachers when the implementation date is approaching. We recommend including the VIP Programme into the school's annual plan and other relevant plans.
Preparing for the Training Conference Implementation
You will be planning the conference in cooperation with your contact from the VIP Leadership Team at Vestre Viken. The agenda for the day is prepared by this team, and you are responsible for sending it to school staff and other cooperation partners. Set aside some time for teachers during joint meetings to tell them what the VIP Programme entails and explain its background. Present an implementation schedule for the programme that is agreed upon with the management and health professionals/student services.
Make sure to find an appropriate venue with access to sound, image, and Internet connection. You could also order catering services for the conference. You or the school management will open the training conference, and the VIP Leadership Team will carry out the rest of the day. It may be useful to have ordered materials in advance so that teachers who will be implementing the VIP program have them available. To show a good example of local collaboration around the topic of mental health in school, you can invite a local newspaper to the conference.
Preparing for Student Implementation
The VIP programme implementation for students is divided into two parts: a three-hour lesson with a teacher and a two-hour class visit with health workers where the teacher should also be present. In order to cooperate well, you need to have an overview of the situation and ensure that everyone keeps in touch. In addition to the timetable, you need to create a contact list with role distribution and contact information for all of the teachers and health workers.
One of the main goals of the VIP Programme is to make students aware of where they can seek help. All students should therefore get an overview of healthcare institutions in their municipality. The school nurse should have this information. There might be an older version of the overview available as well. You are responsible for communicating this information to the school nurse and ensuring that there is a classroom set with an overview of healthcare institutions available during the class visit. You can also print out a classroom set of evaluation forms to be handed out to students at the end of the class visit. You will find more information on this under the Evaluation section below.
Materials and Information for Parents and Guardians
You must order material for students and teachers no later than two weeks before students start working on the VIP Programme with their teacher so that all materials arrive on time by post. You are responsible for ensuring that the contact teacher has a classroom set of student booklets before the start of the VIP Programme implementation.
It can also be useful to give parents or guardians information about the VIP Programme. This can be done at a parent meeting and/or posted on the website.
You can order materials for students and teachers here
You can see info from VIP for parents and guardians here
You can see our suggestion for a letter or email that can be sent to parents here (pdf). — Please note that the PDF is in norwegian
It is important for new schools to get feedback on the VIP Programme implementation. This way it is possible to introduce some changes to the programme, if needed. Evaluation results can be a great motivation for programme implementation the next year, and they demonstrate why the VIP Programme is so important.
It may be a good idea to invite management, and possibly representatives of external mental health services, to an evaluation meeting after the implementation. You could use the student evaluation results as a starting point for discussion at the evaluation meeting.
Electronic Evaluation for Teachers and Health Professionals
The VIP program offers electronic evaluation to teachers, health professionals/student services, and VIP coordinators. Contact us if you are interested and we will give your school access to electronic evaluation. The school can also get a report on evaluations results, if they wish.
Evaluation for Students
Evaluation forms for students are only paper-based because according to the Norwegian law, it is not permitted to ask students under the age of 18 open questions in an electronic survey. Many schools, however, transfer the questions from the evaluation form to learning management systems like Fronter or Itslearning (see below). The VIP program offers a visual report based on student evaluation at each school. If the school is interested, they can
Contact us at VIP or our researcher, Bror Just Andersen.
You can find Contact Information for the VIP Programme here
Forms and Documents
You can download VIP's evaluation form for students here (pdf) — Please note that the PDF is in norwegian
Here you can see an example of an evaluation summary with charts and pictures (pdf). — Please note that the PDF is in norwegian
Tools for Recording and Summing Up Evaluation Results
The following tools are available upon request:
- Table for recording the students' evaluation results
- Manual for recording the students' evaluation results
- Evaluation report template
You can order these tools free of charge by contacting Espen Hansen:
Telephone: (+47) 995 72 518.
The student questionnaire can also be sent by email.
As we mentioned earlier, the student evaluation can be done in electronic form locally. Sotra Upper Secondary School has written a guide on how to use the Itslearning system for this purpose. Other schools that want to carry out electronic evaluation can take advantage of this guide as well.
Guide: How to Create a VIP Programme Evaluation Form for Students in ItsLearning (ITSL)
Enter the subject you want to associate your survey with. It can be wise to place the survey within a subject that is open to all vg1 students.
Then go to Ressurser (Resources).
Create a folder with the name VIP. To do that, add a new folder. Click on the new folder, then click on the Legg til (Add) button again. Next click on Undersøkelser (Surveys).
Enter a title and an introduction. Use the introduction in the student evaluation form provided by the VIP Programme. It may be useful to put a note in red letters saying that students should only complete this survey after the class visit by health professionals. It is important to allocate time for this.
Then click Tidsfrist (Deadline). This is where you can enter the date on which you want the students to complete the survey. It is also possible to activate the survey by clicking Aktiviser (Activate) whenever you want.
Click to make this survey anonymous.
Click Ja (Yes) for Obligatorisk (Required).
A message will pop up saying that this survey has no questions and cannot be carried out. Ignore this message. This message only displays because you have not entered any questions yet.
Click Lagre (Save).
Then click Spørsmål (Questions). You will have several options here.
If you want to your survey to be like the original VIP student evaluation form, you will have to use both multiple choice and open question types.
For multiple choice questions: Write a question. Example: 1. Do you feel like you benefited from the VIP Programme?
Then you can enter answer options in a field called Legg til (Add). Example: 1. To a small degree, Legg til (Add), 2. To a medium degree, Legg til (Add) 3. To a large degree, Legg til (Add). Keep repeating these steps until you have entered all answer options.
Then click Lagre (Save) and Nytt Spørsmål (New Question). Or just click Lagre (Save) to be able to add open questions.
To add an open question, click Åpent Undersøkelsesspørsmål (Open Survey Question).
Write the questions you want to ask here.
Then click Lagre (Save) and Nytt Spørsmål (New Question).
When you have entered all the questions, you can click Lagre (Save).
Send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any problems.
Second Year Implementation
The first years of the VIP Programme implementation in a school can be vulnerable. This is why it may be especially important that you, and possibly your school’s VIP team, make an effort to integrate the VIP Programme into the school culture. The better you prepare for the first and second year, the more likely it is that the VIP Programme will become part of the school routines in the upcoming years.
As we mentioned earlier, predictability is important for the participants in the VIP Programme. It might be a good idea to create up-to-date contact lists so that teachers, health professionals, the Vestre Viken VIP Leadership Team (if they are involved), and the school VIP team can easily get in touch with each other.
Do you think that the school needs more knowledge about mental health? Perhaps there are new teachers, management, a new school nurse, or new members of the VIP team who joined after you had completed the programme the last time. Or maybe teachers have expressed their uncertainty and are looking for professional development in this field? We recommend that all schools call an opening meeting ahead of the start of the VIP Programme to bring together the teachers, and possibly the health professionals, who are going to implement the programme. The meeting agenda may include a presentation of implementation plans, suggested exercises, topics, and materials, as well as focus on a particular relevant topic. Feel free to use our website for such a meeting. Check to see if we have added a new exercise or activity since last year.
As part of the VIP Leadership Team, we want to facilitate effective programme implementation, and if we have the opportunity, we will be happy to visit your school and assist with additional professional development. You can also use the resources of a local mental health service. This way you can kill two birds with one stone — ensure both professional development and closer cooperation with the health workers who are going to carry out class visits. Interdisciplinary collaboration gives many opportunities.
Of course, if there are many new employees at school, such professional development can only apply to them.
Suicide Prevention in School
Suicide prevention requires action in several arenas, including school. When school programmes like the VIP Programme focus on helping students increase their resilience and give them effective coping strategies they can have greater potential for suicide prevention.
Suicide is the second most common cause of death among the 15—25‑year-olds*. One in ten 15—17‑year-olds in Norway reports having attempted suicide or self-harmed one or several times**. These numbers are huge, and this is why suicide prevention requires action in various arenas. It is important to provide children and young people with good development conditions. Additionally, young people who belong to at-risk groups must get treatment and monitoring for mental disorders. It is important to give young people the right information about suicide, especially in the media. This helps to educate the population about the topic which in its turn can decrease the number of people who commit suicide.
As the VIP Team Leadership, we strongly believe that school can be an important arena for suicide prevention.
Who is at Risk?
Self-harm and suicide attempts are more common among children and young people who have been subjected to abuse and/or have mental illness. This particularly applies to depression, behavioural disorders, and substance abuse. Among young people under 20 years old, just under half were influenced by a substance when they died of suicide. 1/3 of young people who commit suicide have never received mental treatment.
There are more men than women who commit suicide in Norway; however, more women than men make unsuccessful suicide attempts. Young asylum seekers belong to a group of people who, in addition to cultural challenges, also struggle with painful traumas. An increased number of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts is also registered among gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender, and other people linked by the gender identity theme.**
If you suspect a particular student of having concrete suicidal thoughts, it is your responsibility to contact a healthcare institution so that this student can get help. Outside of school hours, you can contact emergency care. If you are worried about a student, you can read more on this topic in our Resource Booklet for Teachers, which you can order here or on the page For Teachers.
Suicide Prevention Factors
According to the World Health Organisation, several of the measures aimed at increasing the resilience skills of an individual young person are related to what happens in the society around them. The school, and you as a teacher, can make a difference by contributing to the following preventive factors:
- Ensure that students have a strong sense of belonging and get support from the school.
- Facilitate students in exercising effective problem-solving skills.
- Consciously increase the students’ ability to resolve conflicts in a non-violent way.
- Improve the students’ ability to seek help if they have problems.
- Make it easier to get access to services for physical and mental illness.**
VIP and Suicide Prevention
Norway has taken on the responsibility to try and reduce the suicide rate by 20% by the year 2020. This is why the Government has approved an action plan.** One of the interim goals stated in this action plan is “Good mental health and coping skills in the population.” The Mental Health in School initiative, which includes the VIP Programme, is mentioned under this goal***:
“School-based programmes and initiatives aimed at developing effective coping strategies and increasing resilience in life crises can have suicide preventive potential”.
The VIP Programme is specifically mentioned here as an initiative that has demonstrated promising results overall. In other words, implementing the VIP Programme at your school is one of several measures that can have a suicide-preventive effect. The points above can be used as a starting point for class discussions during the VIP lessons. The last two points are reflected in the VIP Programme goals and are a clear common thread throughout the entire student booklet.
Please note that the information presented in the following links is in norwegian:
“Facts about Suicide and Self-Harm” on the website of the University in Oslo.
Action Plan for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm 2014—2017. (2014: 15+16+17).
Action Plan for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-Harm 2014—2017. Under “School-Based Programmes and Initiatives” (2014:21).
How to talk to a student you are worried about — Please note that the film is in norwegian:
Did you know this?
It is easy to think that suicide prevention at school is about taking up the topic of suicide in the classroom, but this is not the case. Speaking about mental health in general, and the reasons and ways to seek help in particular, has a larger preventive effect.
If you are a teacher who wants to have a particular focus on suicide during your VIP classes, we recommend doing this in cooperation with a health professional.