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Time out in 'green retreats' and  adolescent wellbeing

by Joan Abbott-Chapman

This paper draws together key findings from recent research in Tasmania on young people's favourite places and their reasons for these choices, which relate to 'place attachment' and identity formation. The responses of the teenagers' surveyed provide insight into the widespread significance for them of taking 'time out' (Abbott-Chapman 2000) in favourite places. The findings are suggestive rather than conclusive and raise questions about the association between taking time out, favourite place and wellbeing that demand further investigation.

Students at risk:
Can connections make a difference?

by Nahid Kabir & Tony Rickards

The ARC-funded Smart Communities research project in Western Australia was designed to investigate and provide directions 'for improvement in the life choices available to children and young people at risk in remote, rural and urban areas of Western Australia'. Part of the project involved examining the life stories of 21 at-risk students, including recent African refugees, immigrants, Aborigines and 'established' Australians. This paper considers students' hopes and aspirations, family and community connections, the contribution of cultural influences toward their welfare and the degree of optimism felt by the youngsters.

Kura, yeye, boorda, Nyungar wangkiny gnulla koorlangka:
A conversation about working with Indigenous young people in the past, present and future

by Len Collard & David Palmer

There are enormous difficulties associated with communication between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, but dialogue is considered important for reconciliation, co-existence and a mediated future for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. To demonstrate the importance of conversational exchange, this paper is presented in the form of dialogue with the theme of the possibility of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people working together to support the interests of Indigenous young people.

The perspectives of youth workers in rural Victoria

by Paula Geldens & Lisa Bourke

Youth work is a diverse and challenging career that is continually debated and redefined. Most discussions of youth work, however, have not accounted for differences in geographic location. This paper explores the perspectives of 107 youth workers across rural Victoria in relation to their job satisfaction and support, types of practice, goals and philosophies and the challenges of being a rural practitioner.

Rural adolescents' attitudes to seeking help for mental health problems

by Kristy Francis, Candice Boyd, Damon Aisbett, Karyn Newnham & Krystal Newnham

Little research has been undertaken into the barriers facing rural adolescents seeking help and support for mental health problems. This study presented students from rural secondary schools in Victoria with hypothetical scenarios involving adolescents in rural areas with mental disorders and posed questions in order to create group discussion. The results revealed a range of perceived barriers to help-seeking that could be considered unique to rural settings. However, adolescents also expressed positive attitudes and identified a range of professional help sources available to them. The findings support recent moves towards providing school-based mental health services to young people in rural areas.

The fixed age rule:
Young people, consent and research ethics

by Judith Bessant

Australia is in the process of producing new national guidelines for ethical conduct in research involving humans; however, the draft guidelines do little to remove the restrictions on young people participating in research without parental consent. Judith Bessant argues that young people are being denied their right to participate in research, and researchers are missing out on opportunities to conduct important research on young people, because of outdated conventions concerning the capability of young people to make decisions regarding their participation in research.