Tell Them They’re Dreaming. Orygen releases a worthy report.

Orygen Youth Health Research Centre has released a report discussing the difficulties faced by young people with mental illness in regards to employment and education opportunities: Tell Them They’re Dreaming: Work, Education and Young People with Mental Illness in Australia.

The following key issues have been highlighted by Orygen:

• Unemployment and participation rates of people with mental illness have remained relatively unchanged over the last decade at around 20% and 28% respectively, and are the worst of any disability group.

• People with mental illness constitute the largest, and fastest growing, group in receipt of the Disability Support Pension, the two most common exits from which are the Aged Pension and death.

• Current employment services are achieving unsatisfactory results for people with mental illness. The three most intensive programs achieved job placement outcomes of 26.6%, 24.2% and 18.8% for people with psychiatric conditions.

• There is currently no use by employment agencies of evidence-based employment interventions for people with mental illness in Australia. Evidence-based interventions such as Individual Placement and Support (IPS) have been shown to triple employment outcomes.


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Another top resource from ReachOut.com Professionals.Heard about the MEGA LIST?

reachout-professionalsRecently ReachOut.com Professionals released an Alcohol and Other Drugs Kit (resource) for sharing and/or printing. The kit is designed for use when working with young people who may be experiencing/experimenting with alcohol or drugs or perhaps are concerned about someone in their lives who is. The fact sheets are great! What caught my interest was the#neknominate link. I really knew very little about this craze and this gave me, as a parent and professional in the youth related realm, a great deal of insight.

You know that age-old chant where they make you down a beer (‘Here’s to [your name] he’s true blue…’)? Well now imagine that tenfold, digital and permanent. It’s pretty hard to avoid peer pressure when someone’s personally attached your name to it.

Another area of interest was the Building Better Coping Skills page. The explanations are simple, the language is just perfect for youth and the MEGA LIST of coping strategies brilliant – to the point, no bull! Here’s a little snap-shot of the MEGA LIST!

Turn to someone you trust. Write it all down. Write it all down. Write it all down. Overcome negative patterns of thinking through self-talk. Reduce your load. Consider the big picture. Learn to forgive. Hone your communication skills. Build your optimism. Learn how to set goals.Relax, manBuild your gratitude. 


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14,461 Young People – stress online counselling and families…where’s your focus for 2014?

The much anticipated annual Mission Australia Youth Survey (as you are probably very aware) has been released! How many organisations take the 2013 data into account and work to shift their focus into 2014? Is a change needed at all? There are some interesting findings presented in the report including some thought provoking issues concerning the 14,461 young people surveyed.

Coping with stress was the top issue of concern, with 38.3% of respondents indicating that they were either extremely concerned (15.8%) or very concerned (22.5%) about this issue.postquote1


Almost two thirds (64.1%) of young people indicated that they werenot comfortable using a telephone hotline for advice, support or information, 59.7% were not comfortable using an online counselling website and 49.2% were not comfortable contacting a community

Page 20 provides an insight into the significant role that parents, friends and the internet play as information resources as well as forms of support and advice too. What is encouraging is that 66.9% of young people responded with an overall positive outlook on life and this translates into their future perspectives too:

Over two thirds of respondents felt either positive (48.8%) or very positive (18.7%) about the

In total, 1,235 young people from Western Australia (WA) aged 15 to 19 years responded to Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2013 To view the Western Australia breakdown: Page 139 onward. School and study problems ranked the top most concerning for WA young people – coping with stress followed closely behind. Where do young people from WA turn for information, advice and support?

  • The internet was the primary source of information for young people (69.5%), followed by parent/s (51.0%) and magazines (45.8%).
  • Respondents felt most comfortable going to friend/s (63.6%), parent/s (54.7%) and relatives/family friends (51.2%) for advice.
  • Friend/s (66.6%) were again the primary source of support for young people, followed by parent/s (58.6%) and relatives/family friends (49.1%).
  • Almost two thirds of young people from WA (64.2%) indicated that they were not comfortable using a telephone hotline for advice, support or information, 59.7% were not comfortable using an online counselling website and 49.7% were not comfortable contacting a community agency.postquote1

So what could this mean for those who work in the youth sector? The trending of peer to peer based approaches to support young people and disseminate information through, could be worth reviewing – further deepening the support provided to parents appears to be worth considering as portals for providing sound advice to young people. If the internet is the greatest information source, then what is your website looking like? What does this look like in the realm of social media and hand-held devices? What changes if any, will you be making in 2014 to meet the preferences/needs of young people? We would love to hear you thoughts on what approaches work for you! Team IIOY All information has been obtained from the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2013 and we would like to acknowledge Mission Australia for collecting this great data. Website:https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do-to-help-new/young-people/understanding-young-people/annual-youth-survey

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A Contributing Life: the 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Fresh off the press! A must read for 2013!

Click on the highlighted text below:
A Contributing Life: the 2013 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Our second Report Card continues the National Mental Health Commission’s commitment for change, building upon the foundations and whole of life scope established in our inaugural Report Card, A Contributing Life: the 2012 National Report Card on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, released exactly 12 months ago.postquote1

Happy reading!
IIOY crew.

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Professional webinar…Could video games be good for you?

Are you about this coming Thursday the 28th? If so, QUT’s Dr Daniel Johnson, Young and Well CRC Director Dr Michael Carr-Gregg and Youth Brains Trust member Rori Hancock are hosting a webinar on Videogames and Wellbeing: A Comprehensive Review at 4pm AEST.

The comprehensive review will cover the key findings of Videogames and Wellbeing: A Comprehensive Review and discuss the investigation of more than 200 publications. The report uncovers strong links between gaming and positive mental health – challenging the way professionals think about videogames and wellbeing.

Participating in this webinar will allow health professionals and support workers to expand their understanding of the creative, social and emotional benefits associated with playing videogames and, in turn, increase their confidence in discussing gaming with young people.postquote1

To register your interest follow this link.

ps. IIOY hopes your ‘Movember’ was a successful one! Our profile picture is in honour of such a great cause!

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Neuroplasticity – learning about the brain early in life.

Here’s a little media release – IIOY is up to some exciting brainy stuff – making mini Amygdalas (amygdali) – helping to keep those little almond shaped group of nuclei calm…

image courtesy of Scholastic

–    image courtesy of Scholastic










The brain is amazing – it’s plastic! Neuroplasticity refers to the brains ability to change itself in response to the environment and to learn from experience. The brain is the only organ able to do this. Our emotional state early in life, affects the way our brain develops. All experiences, good and not so good, shape the structure of the brain. The early years of life are a critical time for brain development.

Bunbury-based community group Investing In Our Youth is excited to be bringing MindUP™ to the South West. MindUP™ is an evidence based classroom curriculum that fosters social and emotional awareness, enriches psychological well-being and promotes academic success. Through the MindUP™ curriculum, children learn about their brains and how different parts of their brains function and how this affects their behaviour.

Youth Mental Health Development Officer Louise Fischer, says that by learning about how the brain operates we learn how this affects our emotions and therefore our behaviour.

“MindUP™ gives children a deeper understanding of how the brain processes information,” Ms Fischer said. “Parents and teachers learn about their brains too.”

MindUP™ is a great way in which children, aged from pre-primary through to around 14 years, can learn to regulate their emotions and research shows this knowledge will be sustained into adulthood.

“Children at very young ages can suffer from stress and anxiety. MindUP™ offers children a way to learn about their emotions and how to tame them,” Ms Fischer said.

A new Child and Parent Centre is being built in Carey Park and is due for completion next year. Child and Parent Centres are a State Government initiative. The Child and Parent Centre Carey Park is run by Investing In Our Youth in partnership with Carey Park Primary School.

Coordinator of the Centre Annette Owen says that “MindUP™ is also about learning emotional regulation through the practice of ‘mindful attention’ – which is learning about your senses.”

“Evidence suggests, MindUP™ teaches children to think about their feelings before reacting in any given situation,” Mrs Owen said.

Shaping Brains Project Manager Sheryl Batchelor, from the charity the Benevolent Society in QLD, will be conducting training for teachers in the South West at the end of January next year. Any teachers interested in registering an interest in the MindUP™ training for 2014 should email Annette.Owen@iinet.net.au for more information.

If you would like to see Investing In Our Youth demonstrate some of the MindUP™ activities and want to learn a little more about your brain – see Annette and Louise on October 9 at Paisley Square in Bunbury where they are taking part in Mental Health Week celebrations.

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GAME ON! & Hello Sunday Morning

Have you heard? HELLOSUNDAYMORNING is making a change – one Sunday morning at a time! A movement promoting change – small changes or big changes but nonetheless a change in peoples lives regarding their relationship with alcohol. One member of IIOY has just signed up! We will keep you posted! Watch the intro to this very cool movement below.

An exciting report by the Young and Well CRC (in partnership with the Brain & Mind Research Institute, Black Dog Institute, Beyond Blue and Movember Foundation) focusing on young males aged between 16 to 25 years and the use of technology was released in July this year. Interestingly however not surprisingly, the use of technology in young people between 2008 and 2012 has increased dramatically with checking emails (2008 showed 13.4% to 2012 93.9%) and accessing social networks (2008 31.5% to 2012 92.7%) being the two most common ways young people use the internet. Below, are some key pointsIIOY has found interesting:

“Using a search engine (as opposed to accessing a specific site) was the most popular way to find information for a mental health, alcohol or other substance use problem in both surveys…”


“When asked how long a health problem needs to be present before a young person should seek help, two–thirds (66%) of young men responded ‘less than one month’ for a mental health problem; and 60% ‘less than one month’ for an alcohol or other substance use problem…”


“Young men with ‘moderate’ to ‘very high’ psychological distress were significantly more likely to have talked about their problems on the internet with other young people (23% vs 44%)”postquote1

Of the 13 recommendations, 7 and 11 really stood out us here at IIOY.

  • 7. Professional development should be provided to school counsellors, psychologists and chaplains to use online resources and tools.

Less than one in four participants in this survey would recommend professional support, either face–to–face or online, yet information on health and mental health on the internet was acceptable to young men.

  • 11. Campaigns for young men should be delivered in the social networks they frequent and focus on changing attitudes to help–seeking, stress management, alcohol or other substance misuse, bullying and violence and body image. These campaigns must be developed in partnership with young men.

Participants in this survey used social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter and both uploaded and downloaded digital content. Participants recognised alcohol or other substance misuse and mental health as the major health problems affecting young people aged 16 to 25 years. They understood when such problems began; their beliefs regarding when to seek help were accurate; and they reported feeling confident that they could get help for a close friend or family member. Coping with stress was the biggest issue facing young men, with almost 50% reporting stress as their main concern. One in four young men were concerned about depression (27%) and body image (26%) and 41% of young men felt concerned about their physical appearance on a daily basis. This suggests campaigns need to focus more on behaviour change and less on either awareness or knowledge. This should include practical solutions to managing stress, getting the right help at the right time and taking appropriate steps to help–seeking.          

Follow this link to download the full report.

What could this report do for anyone involved in working with young people, particularly young men? Perhaps apps for portable devices or online counselling links could be added to your resources for young people? Do you use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach your audience? If not, why not? The above report has just touched on how important it is to our young men.

Have a brilliant day – IIOY Crew.

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ReachOut.com for Professionals – A Must See Site

reachout-professionalsReachOut.com Professionals provides recommendations and advice for youth support workers and education professionals on a range of online interventions, tools and resources that can be used to support young people experiencing mental health difficulties and to build young people’s well-being and resilience.postquote1

An online resource for anyone working with young people – not limited to the mental health realm, to education providers also! Ranging from information on how to navigate the mental health system, to apps & online tools, classroom activities and the latest research. This site is truly looking like one-stop-shop! Although we have only just registered, it appears the site is still under construction with some subjects currently without any published information. We are really loving the Professional Development area, which hosts webinars and support tips for services! Check out this amazing resource here!

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Professor Allan Fels introduces the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

The Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance has been established by the National Mental Health Commission. They bring together leaders from a range of sectors including government, business and community to establish mentally healthy workplaces that support employees and their families. What could this look like? A pioneer in this movement is the Young and Well CRC who provide their staff a week of leave each year, “…for reflection, study, volunteering & other activities that aide personal growth & development. Just one way we build a mentally healthy workplace.”

To find out more about this movement visit:http://workplacementalhealth.com.au/home.aspx
If your workplace is a leader in providing employees with a mentally healthy workplace, you can showcase your approach on the website!

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How can a doorway aid in the study of body image? & Is the pursuit of happiness making some people sadder?

It’s been a little since our last post. I recently stumbled across a great read ‘Anorexia study shows how doorways reveal body image clues’ which highlights the unconscious side of anorexia nervosa patients. Fascinatingly the study reveals the use of a doorway to observe the patient’s behaviour and their perception of themselves. Worth a read!

Is the pursuit of happiness impacting the people who feel sad, to feel sadder? A great article by Anna Salleh ‘Be happy and don’t worry about being sad’ discusses the research conducted by Dr Brock Bastian and colleagues, of the University of Queensland “Sometimes promoting happiness creates pressure on people, and that pressure can actually make them more sad,” says Bastian. This makes for great read regarding cultural differences too – the study compared reactions from people in both Australia and Japan – “People are much more expecting a balance between the different emotional states compared to the west.” Hence, there was less pressure to be happy. So could happiness be a measurement for the present time and instead of pursuing happiness, could we learn to accept that some of us have different emotional settings? An interesting notion no doubt. Perhaps an article worth following up on again in the near future.

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