Skills for Life is a universal preventative social-emotional learning curriculum for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander middle schools. It was developed in consultation with knowledgeable elders and community educators as a contribution to suicide prevention and aims to promote resilience and coping among youth as they negotiate an important transition in school and community life.

It draws on research evidence for effective school-based social and emotional learning programs. A feature of skills for life is the development of themes and resources that directly tap into common experiences of young people in their communities. This helps build conversation about young people’s strengths, the challenges they face, their emotional expressions, strategies for coping and problem-solving, the things they can do to stay on track, keep well and maintain positive relationships.

Teaching styles and strategies: Skills for Life is based on proven pedagogical techniques. It makes use of experiential, peer-to-peer learning to explore key messages and games to foster positive engagement and group collaboration. It provides pictorial resources in electronic and hard copy to enable teachers to work with students at different levels of literacy and independence. Skills for Life is being evaluated with support of a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Four remote schools and one boarding school have participated in the evaluation project from 2016-2019.

Chief investigator:
Project dates:

The project commenced in December 2014 - June 2020.

  • National Health and Medical Research Council

Northern Territory Government Department of Education:

  • Maningrida College
  • Gunbalanya Community School

Catholic Education Office NT:

  • Xavier Catholic College, Wurrumiyanga
  • Our Lady of The Sacred Heart Thamarrurr Catholic College
  1. Robinson, G., Leckning, B., Midford, R., Harper, H., Silburn, S., Gannaway, J., Dolan, K., Delphine, T. & Hayes, C. (2016). Developing a school-based preventive life skills program for youth in a remote Indigenous community in North Australia. Health Education, 116(5) pp. 510-523.
  • Trakz - The Trakz resource was designed to address the impact of teasing and bullying experienced by remote Aboriginal youth.