It is confronting to find that it often takes something as shocking as the bushfires in Victoria in February to put aspects of our lives into perspective. While the economic downturn may affect us all in one way or another, few of us will ever experience the trauma that thousands of Victorians faced on Saturday 7 February 2009. I'm sure that all in the youth field would like to join with Youth Studies Australia
in expressing our profound sorrow to those affected by the loss of life, homes and livelihoods. We are fortunate, however, that the human capacity for generosity and compassion has been well in evidence (to donate, go to: www.redcross.org.au
Among those needing support will be many young people who may be more vulnerable than children to the after-effects of trauma of such magnitude. Experts are stressing the need for significant adults to model healthy responses to the situation, and it is obvious that teachers, social workers, youth workers, counsellors, church workers and health workers will be sharing with parents in caring for the young people involved. We wish them all wisdom, patience and energy in the months to come. Youth Studies Australia has published two papers on bereavement and young people, and we maintain a list of organisations concerned with grief and loss. For more information, see: acys.info/topics/grief. Also, in this issue of Youth Studies Australia (p.62), we have included an abstract of a paper on young people's coping with the death of a peer.
Readers will notice that the 'Youth Monitor' section of the journal is missing. We are no longer able to provide this service because of funding constraints. We will, however, continue to fulfill our aim of contributing 'to the wellbeing of young people by providing comprehensive and up-to-date information about key issues and practices in the youth field' by replacing this section with an additional research paper and/or book reviews in each issue.
On a happier note, readers will also notice that we have changed the paper stock for Youth Studies Australia. We are using a 100% recycled paper called Envirocare for both the cover and the text. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, we think it looks pretty interesting.
Health is a major theme of this issue and the complex and interrelated nature of health care provision is obvious in the research described in the first four papers. The first of these describes fascinating research which suggests that young people's access to mental health treatment may be affected by belief-based barriers to help-seeking held by adult gatekeepers of these services. The second paper identifies additional barriers to young people's access to mental health services, including a range of social, cultural and demo-graphic factors. The third paper focuses on the practices of health and social service providers and stresses the need for flexible inter-service collaboration. The final in this "series" describes preliminary research on the effectiveness of a group cognitive behavioural therapy-based aggression management intervention in a behavioural school in NSW.
The last three papers in this edition all consider aspects of young people's participation in Australian society. The fifth paper suggests that previous definitions of young people's political participation have been too narrow and calls for an expansion of the research focus in this area. The sixth paper is concerned with factors that have impacted on young people's social inclusion while the seventh paper looks at young people's interaction with neoliberal discourse. The data suggest that young people willingly embrace this ideology and consider themselves architects of their own destiny. However, the last two papers both warn that social and economic changes beyond young people's control may impact on their health and wellbeing.