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Youth Field Xpress

ISSN 1440-8651
Issue n.118, June 2006.


Youth Studies Australia, v.25, n.2, June 2006
Working together: Families, services, schools and young people

From the editorial: "All the papers in this issue of Youth Studies Australia demonstrate very clearly how young people s wellbeing depends on families, services, schools and young people working and learning together. Rather than seeking 'solutions' to 'fix' young people, these papers focus on what adults can do to improve their interactions with young people and the services they provide for them. " (Sue Headley, editor, Youth Studies Australia)

Feature articles:

* Comfortably numb: Young people, drugs and the seductions of popular culture

According to Karen Brooks, young people have adopted what she terms resistance conformity. That is, they believe they are fashioning a unique identity carved in their own self-image, when in reality they are donning a prefabricated corporate and cultural mould. She believes that parents, educators and caregivers need to educate young people to be discerning in their pop culture consumption, and adults need to educate themselves about what young people are consuming. By empowering young people to ?read? the images of themselves through cultural pedagogy, and providing them with tools to decrypt these images, adults will enable young people to make informed choices.

* RRISK: A sustainable intersectoral partnership

RRISK (Reduce Risk Increase Student Knowledge), a school-based harm minimisation program, aims to provide students in Years 10 and 11 with skills to make informed decisions to reduce risks associated with drug and alcohol use, driving and celebrating. RRISK provides a framework for an integrated response to addressing these issues. A detailed assessment of the intersectoral partnership that has conducted RRISK for five years reveals several elements that may explain its success.

* The BEST Plus approach to assisting families recover from youth substance problems

The BEST Plus program is a whole-of-family therapy option for families to address youth substance abuse issues, and challenging and antisocial adolescent behaviours. It uses an evidence-based strategy that can be implemented widely in the community, and is proving to be a popular and relevant framework for professionals to engage and assist families in reducing adolescent problem behaviours. Evaluations indicate the program is an effective forum for parents and siblings of adolescent drug abusers to redevelop positive family environments that encourage responsible behaviour and recovery from drug abuse.

* The Resilient Families Program: Family health and wellbeing during the transition to secondary school

Resilient Families is a school-based prevention program designed to help students and parents develop knowledge, skills and support networks to promote health and wellbeing during the early years of secondary school. The program is designed to build within-family connectedness (parent?adolescent communication, conflict resolution) as well as to improve social support between different families, and between families and schools. The program is expected to promote social, emotional and academic competence and to prevent health and social problems in youth.

* The 'Teen Triple P' Positive Parenting program: A preliminary evaluation

The Teen Triple P program is a unique parenting and family support system developed at the University of Queensland for parents of children who exhibit antisocial/conduct behaviour problems in early adolescence. This evaluation empirically validates Teen Triple P as an early intervention and prevention strategy that can be implemented in secondary schools. The program provides parents with assertive discipline skills to preserve parental authority in a consistent and nurturing manner and to help teens maintain regard for family norms of appropriate behaviour as well as respect for school and wider community expectations.

* Primary health care for young people: Which service delivery models improve access and quality?

Using seven principles as reference points, the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health has developed six 'models' of primary health care, which appear promising for improving youth access and quality of primary health care for young people aged 12 to 25. The authors argue that now these models, which include the GPs in Schools model and the schools-based clinic, need to be extensively evaluated so that sustainable, evidence-based health care can be more widely adopted.

Attention Youth Studies Australia subscribers

Activate your online access to Youth Studies Australia and read the latest two issues online in full text. Visit: and have your YSA subscription number at hand. Your YSA four-digit subscriber number can be found on any correspondence you have received from us (the Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies), such as invoices and subscription renewal reminders or confirmation of new subscriptions. If you can't find the number, call us on (03) 6226 2591 and we'll give it to you by phone. If you want to subscribe to YSA, download the order form from: or

NOTE: ACYS website updates

ACYS has redeveloped its website and you may find that some pages you have previously bookmarked have moved. We have tried to cover all bases but if you really cannot find what you need, do contact us.


The politics of youth crime

The May 2006 edition of 'YAPRap', the newsletter of the Youth Action and Policy Association in New South Wales, contains the sixth and final article in a series on youth crime by Garner Clancey from consultancy, research and training company CHD Partners. In this article, Clancey focuses on the treatment of youth crime as a political issue in New South Wales. He predicts this to be a key issue in the lead-up to the March 2007 state election. Based on comments made by NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam and NSW Juvenile Justice Minister Tony Kelly, Clancey believes that the Government and the Opposition will 'attempt to out-manoeuvre and out-score' each other 'on their credentials as being tough on crime, particularly youth crime'. Clancey reviews the impact on the juvenile justice system of 11 of the 429 recommendations that emanated from the NSW Juvenile Justice Advisory Council's 1992 Green Paper 'Future Directions for Juvenile Justice in NSW', also outlining other positive developments in juvenile justice since this time. Clancey recommends that any future policies on youth crime and juvenile justice should be informed by a similar framework to preserve the positive impacts of past initiatives and to ensure that 'less time and money will be wasted with false reforms, hollow announcements and reactionary policy'. Finally, Clancey presents a charter of principles of juvenile justice in NSW. (Source: 'YAPRap', n.13, May 2006, pp.14-18.)


It's Drug Action Week ( ), and this edition of Youth Field Xpress focuses on youth-related news from the alcohol and other drugs sector.


* CounsellingOnline, at, was launched in May 2006 by Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre. The site will support existing alcohol and drug counselling and treatment services by offering free, text-based, confidential support and referral. Completely secure, immediate, and if preferred, anonymous, this new service is particularly suited to clients not yet ready for face-to-face sessions or who find it difficult to access services due to location or hours of work. Staffed by trained counsellors, the service operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week and can be used by anyone in Australia concerned about their own drug or alcohol use, or the drug or alcohol use of someone close to them. The 'live and immediate counselling' is conducted via webchat, and the initiative is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing as part of the National Illicit Drugs Strategy. If you would like to distribute information about CounsellingOnline to your clients, contact the DrugInfo Clearinghouse, ph: 1300 85 85 84, or email druginfo [AT] for a pack of posters and wallet cards.

Students and DAMD

A new program known as DAMD (The Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health project), designed by a group of students students at Ultimo TAFE College, was launched at the end of May 2006. See: which will take you to a 'Sydney Morning Herald' news item.

* The Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) has announced that its Rural and Regional Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Workforce Development Grants will continue in 2006. These grants were previously known as the ANCD's Rural and Regional AOD Study Grants. These grants are open to rural- and regional-based workers who deal with AOD issues. It provides financial assistance to allow individuals to work for a short period of time in another AOD agency(s) and/or attend a conference(s) within Australia. Through this initiative, the ANCD endeavours to facilitate networking within the AOD and related sectors, as well as provide professional development opportunities. See the ANCD's website for details, or phone the ANCD Secretariat, (02) 6279 1650. The ANCD will accept applications on photocopied forms. Applications must be received by close of business on Friday, 14 July 2006.

Discrimination against drug users is helping to spread Hep C

According to the National Centre in HIV Social Research's Max Hopwood and Carla Treloar, the continued discrimination and stigmatisation of drug users in Australia will obstruct efforts to prevent the further spread of the hepatitis C virus in Australia. More than 90 per cent of new hepatitis C infections occur among people who inject drugs. Their report, 'Birds of a feather: Prohibition and hepatitis C related discrimination', is at:, or

Indigenous alcohol and drug issues

In the latest issue of the 'Drug and Alcohol Review' (v.25, n.3, May 2006) Indigenous researchers put forward solutions to some of the alcohol and drug issues facing Indigenous people in Australia. The papers describe projects conducted in urban, remote and regional towns to address issues with petrol, tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs. The National Drug Research Institute have made all the papers from this issue available on request in PDF format: contact: Rachael Lobo, NDRI Communications Officer (08) 9266 1627 / 0414 682 055 or r.j.lobo [AT]


NSW trial of vocational education for Year 9 & 10 students

NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt has announced that 30 schools around NSW are offering vocational education and training to students in Years 9 and 10 as part of a pilot program to improve student retention rates and better prepare students for post-school life. (Source: 'Education Review', v.16, n.3, 2006, p.13.)

Government moves on national certificate

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop has announced that a curriculum and standards study and public consultation will be conducted in response to an Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) report advocating a national education certificate. Australian certificate of education: Exploring a way forward, commissioned by the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) last year, states that the most desirable long-term outcome for Australian education would be the emergence of a single Australian Certificate of Education in place of the existing nine certificates. The report also proposes the establishment of a national standards body, which would set core curriculum and benchmarks, a national test or 'key capabilities' assessment (KCA) related to employability skills, and awards for student excellence. The report suggests 2009 as an acceptable timeframe to implement the new curricula and KCA. The ACER report and a public consultation questionnaire can be downloaded from the DEST website: (Source: 'Education Review', v.16, n.3, 2006, p.3.)

Reports and briefings from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth

This series of reports investigates various aspects of young Australians' transition from school to post-secondary education, training and employment.

LSAY Briefing Paper n.12: Post-school educational training and pathways to age 20

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) released this briefing paper in December 2005. It combines data from three recent LSAY research reports on the post-school education and training undertaken up to age 20 by a cohort of 13, 613 young people, all of whom were in Year 9 in 1995. By age 20, approximately 80 per cent of the cohort had entered some form of higher education or vocational education and training (including New Apprenticeships and non-apprenticeship VET). Over 75 per cent of those who started post-school study persisted in their courses; most students who changed courses persisted in their new course. The main reasons for students in all forms of port-school study withdrawing from study were related to their changing interests. Approximately one-quarter of people who withdrew from all post-school study moved into unemployment or part-time work, or were outside the labour force at age 20, and were more likely to be in these statistics than those who completed their post-school study. The briefing paper recommends further research to find out what the longer-term consequences of withdrawal from all forms of post-school study might be. LSAY briefing papers can be downloaded at: ( or, ) and for further information, contact Dr Sheldon Rothman at ACER Private Bag 55, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, ph: (03) 9277 5555; fax: (03) 9277 5500; email: rothman [AT]; website: (Source: ACER (2005), 'Post-school education and training pathways to age 20', ACER Briefing n.12, Melbourne.)

LSAY Research report n.48: 'Variations in VET provision across Australian schools and their effects on student outcomes'

This report, by Stephen Lamb and Margaret Vickers, was released on 4 May 2006. It aims to 'develop a school-based typology that captures some of the variation in VET provision' both within and between different curricular contexts in Australian States and Territories. It also examines the impact of different models of VET provision on school completion rates and post-school outcomes for students. This is achieved using data from the 1998 LSAY cohort. Schools were classified into three broad models based on their method used to integrate VET into their curriculum: the 'School Model', where VET was integrated and accredited as part of the Year 12 certificate; the 'TAFE Model', where VET subjects were 'stand-alone' subjects not counted as part of the Year 12 certificate; and a third model, where any VET courses offered do not include an element of workplace learning or no VET courses are offered at all. Seven 'types' of schools were identified across these models, ranked according to their level of emphasis on workplace learning. Data analysis found that while the TAFE Model 'seemed to promote positive post-school outcomes' such as employment, tertiary study and apprenticeships, the School Model 'seemed to promote better completion rates for participants.'

LSAY Research report n.49: 'The transition to full-time work of people who do not go to university'

'Crisis' accounts of the youth labour market are not supported by this new report, written by Gary Marks and released on 18 May by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The report disputes claims that young people who are not fully engaged in full-time work or study are 'at risk' of an unsuccessful school-to-work transition. An analysis of the labour market outcomes of 5500 young Australians who did not go to university has found generally positive employment outcomes that improved with time. The group was first surveyed in Year 9 in 1995 and tracked through to 2002 when their average age was 21 and they had been out of school for between four and six years. The results are reported separately for males and females as their post-school experiences differ in a number of ways.
In the first year after leaving school, 61 per cent of young men and 45 per cent of young women were working full-time. A little over half of young male and a third of female full-time workers were also studying part time. Twelve per cent of women and 6 per cent of men were working part time while 27 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men were studying full-time. About 9 per cent of both men and women were unemployed with a further 2 per cent not studying or in the labour force. By the fourth year after leaving school about 77 per cent of males and 65 per cent of females were in full-time work. The type of work also changed over time: higher proportions moved into professional and skilled jobs, earnings increased, and job satisfaction improved. Most of those who had started in part-time jobs moved into full-time employment by the fourth year.
The report concluded that obtaining a job soon after leaving school is the best pathway to ongoing full time work for school leavers. Apprenticeships and traineeships are especially effective ways of getting a good start after leaving school. (Source: ACER 2006 'New study challenges crisis accounts of youth labour market', media release 18 May 2006, viewed 15 June 2006, or: (PDF document).
LSAY reports can be purchased in print form from ACER Press ph: (03) 9835 7447; fax: (03) 9835 7499; email: sales [AT], and are also available at:

New from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

* Informing post-school pathways: Investigating school students' authentic work experiences (Author: Stephen Billett)

The way school students understand work through their paid part-time work and participation in school-based apprenticeships has the potential to inform career decision-making and further education pathways. Through classroom-based interventions this project sought to assist students' and teachers' understandings of 'authentic' work experiences. The role of the school and teachers in preparing students for vocational outcomes raises many issues, including the support and skills required for discussion and activities concerned with the realities of the working world. Reflecting on work experiences, when effectively directed by teachers, enables students to appraise the world of work critically. (Source: NCVER News, n.141, 5 June 2006; NCVER website, viewed 15 June 2006,, or )

* Australian vocational education and training statistics: Students and courses 2005 ? Preliminary data (Author: NCVER)

Preliminary data from the annual collection of student enrolments relating to the public vocational education and training system show that more than 1.64 million students undertook publicly funded training in 2005, an increase of 2.9 per cent or 46 000 students compared with 2004. Student numbers increased in all states and territories, except Victoria which showed a decrease of 4.5 per cent. The largest increases occurred in New South Wales (8.6 per cent) and the Northern Territory (8.2 per cent). Comparing 2005 with 2004, total subject enrolments increased by 2.9 per cent and total hours of delivery increased by 3.9 per cent. NCVER will release the final data and more detail about the annual VET statistics on 3 July 2006. For further information on the publication, visit:, or (Source: NCVER News, n.141, 5 June 2006.)


Transition programs bear fruit for students, schools and employers

Studies by Charles Sturt University education researcher Prof. Robyn Zevenbergen into school-to-work transition programs have determined that such programs have immediate benefits for students, schools and employers. Transition programs were found to benefit students by engaging them at school and enabling them to 'test out' jobs before officially entering the workforce. Employers, in turn, benefit by being able to 'test out' students as potential employees. The programs also benefit schools, which have higher completion rates and face fewer behavioural problems owing to increased student engagement and enthusiasm for learning. (Source: 'Education Review' v.16, n.3, 2006, p.13.)

From the Office of Employment Advocate:

< quote >
The Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) is a Commonwealth Government agency whose primary role is to accept lodgement of all types of workplace agreements. The OEA has a particular regard to assist youth with agreement making. We offer advice and assistance about workplace agreements to all young people. Our staff can provide resources to young workers who are entering the workforce for the first time as well as those individuals already employed, including apprentices and trainees. For instance, the OEA can check an agreement before it is lodged to ensure that it does not contain prohibited content. The OEA is also available to assist young employees to understand the Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard. In addition, the agency funds a number of Community Partners across Australia which provide young people with free employment advice over the phone or at their offices. The OEA is located in every capital city (except Canberra). Further assistance is available by calling the Workplace Agreement Information Service on 1300 366 632 or by visiting the OEA website You can write to the OEA at GPO Box 9842 (in your capital city).
< End quote >


UNESCO's annual grants scheme

Applications are now open for 2006-07 submissions for the Australian National Commission for UNESCO's annual grants scheme. Up to $75,000 is available annually for Australian projects. The commission will decide which projects are to be funded and the level of funds approved. Preference will be given to project proposals which address current UNESCO priorities, and project outcomes must reflect UNESCO objectives and ideals (See: for more.) Application forms and grant scheme guidelines are available on our homepage: and completed application forms must be lodged with the Secretariat of the Australian National Commission for UNESCO by 31 July 2006. More information is available from Les Humphries, ph: (02) 6261 2773. (Source: Alan Wu, Chair, Youth Network, Australian National Commission for UNESCO ; posting to the Australian Youth Information Network email discussion list (AYIN list), 2 June 2006.


UK Youth Work Week 2006 to focus on mental health

This year's UK Youth Work Week is to be based around the theme 'Hold your head up ? mental health and emotional well-being'. The week takes place from 1?7 November 2006 and will give youth work organisations the chance to promote and celebrate the role they play in the lives of young people. A web-based Youth Work Week information pack will be available on the National Youth Agency's website ( by the end of June. (Source: 'The Edge', newsletter of the National Youth Agency (UK), n.13, spring 2006, p.3.)

UK report into self-harm among children and young people

Britain has the highest rate of deliberate self-harm among children and young people in all of Europe, according to a report published by The Camelot Foundation and The Mental Health Foundation. The report, Truth Hurts, found that one in 12 children and young people in Britain have deliberately harmed themselves. For more information, visit (Source: 'The Edge', newsletter of the National Youth Agency (UK), n.13, spring 2006, p.3.)


Suicide and mental illness in the media

This is a new resource package produced as part of the Mindframe National Media Initiative, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing through the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and the National Mental Health Strategy. The package was developed for various groups within the mental health sector (including consumers and carers, media professionals, medical and allied health professionals, and representatives of government and non-government mental health organisations) to help them talk to the media about suicide and mental health issues. Resources within the package are designed to 'support accurate and appropriate reporting that will minimise the risk of harm and reduce the stigma experienced by people who live with a mental illness'. These resources include information about the effects of the various ways that mental health issues and suicide are reported by the media, information on contacting media organisations and responding to media requests or media coverage, useful facts and statistics, and issues to consider when talking to the media about suicide, mental illness and mental health issues. 'Suicide and mental illness in the media: A Mindframe resource for the mental health sector' was developed by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Auseinet, SANE Australia and Multicultural Mental Health Australia. The resource book is available online in PDF format together with a general quick reference card specifically developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, at:, or
For further information about these resources contact Jaelea Skehan, Hunter Institute of Mental Health, ph: (02) 4924 6727; email: jaelea.skehan [AT]
(Source: 'Auseinetter', v.26, n.1, April 2006, p.20-21.)


The 'Feel Good?' resource for schools, and the 'Building bridges' website for health professionals, especially GPs

The 'Feel Good?' DVD is a teaching resource for students that aims to increase their awareness of the risks of alcohol abuse in terms of the adverse effects of binge drinking on their mental health. The DVD explores the close links between alcohol use and the development of mental health problems, particularly anxiety and depression. As schools are uniquely placed to educate young people about these risks, the resource concentrates on giving educators extensive resources to use in the classroom. The DVD is aimed at Year 9 students and the project is funded by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation Ltd (AER), the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and Westgate and Western Melbourne Divisions of General Practice.

The 'Building Bridges' website addresses the issues of comorbidity of alcohol and mental health issues, and has a youth-friendly approach to its information provision. It includes a collection of resources and tools for GPs, useful links for service providers and the general public, and aims to connect services across sectors. Funded by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation and facilitated by the Australian Division of General Practice, the site will be launched officially in mid-July. Students, teachers, young people, health and welfare professionals are invited to the launch at 2 p.m. on Thursday 13 July 2006 at the Wyndham Youth Resource Centre in Melbourne. Others attendees will include GPs and allied health providers, and representatives from the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation, the Australian Division of General Practice, community health centres, local councils and reference committees involved in the 'Building Bridges' project from the catchment areas of Westgate and Western Divisions of General Practice . See:

COAG Mental Health: New early intervention services for parents, children and young people

This is one in an online series of papers that gives details of the Government's financial commitment to improving services for people with a mental illness, their families and carers. For the youth-related paper, see:, or

Newly-arrived refugees and drug prevention

This is the topic of the DrugInfo Clearinghouse's latest suite of publications. In launching the resource, they say:

< quote > 'The plight of refugees and asylum seekers has long been a contentious issue in Australia and around the world. While there are many individuals and organisations working to support refugees and asylum seekers, there are differing views about their involvement with problematic drug use, and therefore not everyone seems to agree on the most appropriate, and effective, approaches to drug prevention with these vulnerable communities. The fact that there is a dearth of evidence from research and practice makes it even more difficult to assess the efficacy of current drug prevention efforts. One thing is clear: if we really want to make a difference, we need quality scientific evidence to support our practice.' < End quote >

Fact sheets on newly arrived refugees and drug prevention are also available for workers, teachers and other groups. See:, or

Mental Health Day Conference to focus on early intervention with youth

With a target audience specifically stated as being 'teachers, youth workers, counsellors and professionals working with youth', the Mental Health Day conference, to be held in Melbourne on 14 July 2006, will focus on promoting awareness of the importance of early intervention for young people on the brink of serious mental health issues. The event will feature the tools, resources and useful networks which all help those concerned about young people's mental health to identify the warning signs and to promote best practice in schools. Speakers will include Anthony Klarica, a sport and educational psychologist, as well as young people from the ORYGEN youth participation program, ORYGEN's Dr. Eoin Killacky (on the effects of mental health problems on academic and vocational success) and Dr. Brian Graetz of beyondblue (on the signs and symptoms of mental health problems). There will also be speakers on best practice issues from the education and employment sectors.

The conference is an initiative of RMIT's Disability Coordination Officer program and is sponsored by the Equity Research Centre which aims to promote awareness of mental health issues in young people and communicate the importance of early intervention. The registration form is available for download from the RMIT website: Alternatively, contact Natalia Klarica, RMIT Disability Coordination Officer , GPO Box 2476V, Melbourne, Victoria 3001. Ph: 03 9925 3531; fax: 03 9925 9004; email: natalia.klarica [AT]

SAM can help!

The Save-A-Mate (SAM) training program is a youth-oriented Red Cross first aid course designed to provide participants with the information and skills necessary to assist in emergencies resulting from alcohol and other drug (AOD) use. SAM is designed for young people and those who work with young people such as youth workers, nightclub workers, teachers and parents or carers of young people. The SAM program has two components: information on AODs, and first aid procedures for AOD-related emergencies. The standard cost of a SAM training course is $75.00 per participant, but reduced rates are available for community groups and not-for-profit organisations. For further information, contact Tom O'Brien, SAM Coordinator: ph: (02) 9229 4142; email: nswsam [AT]; website: (Source: 'YAPRap', v.16, n.5, May 2006, p.9).

Bipolar disorder web-based educational program

The Black Dog Institute has recently launched the Bipolar Disorder Web-based Educational program, which provides expert, factual and consumer-oriented information on this disorder for use by those with the disorder as well as their families and friends. The program consists of nine separate modules on important aspects of the diagnosis and management of the illness, including causes, treatments, stay-well plans and issues for carers. See:, or

News from Auseinet

The Auseinet (Australian Network for Promotion Prevention and Early Intervention for Mental Health) website has a new look! Its noticeboard also announces the latest issues of two of their publications:

* The latest issue of the Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health, or 'AeJAMH' (v.5, n.1) includes an article on the impact on mental health in others of those in a position of authority such as parents, teachers, trainers and supervisors. See:

* 'Auseinetter' n.26 is focused on suicide prevention. Auseinet project manager Jennie Parham comments on the Australian Government's recent mental health policy reforms. While welcoming the new initiatives, Parham expresses concern over the absence of initiatives relating to promotion, prevention and early intervention approaches to mental health issues: 'there is a real danger that the majority of effort and investment will be placed in addressing acute care, treatment of high-risk groups'. While acknowledging that these services are needed, Parham says that they will do little to 'reduce the prevalence and onset of mental disorders' and will therefore risk perpetuating the need for more services. (Source: 'Auseinetter'v.26, n.1, April 2006, p.3, and AUSEINET noticeboard,; and refer to the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health's report at:, or

'Listen Up' campaign

Launched during National Youth Week in April 2006, the 'Listen Up' mental health awareness campaign aims to 'promote positive mental health messages to young people in a fun environment through music, dance and entertainment'. The Listen Up Festival held in Federation Square, Melbourne, featured puppetry, a human maze, hip hop workshops, music and circus performances and an all-day live radio broadcast on youth mental health issues. A number of Australian sporting and television stars also made appearances. 'Listen Up' is an initiative of ORYGEN Youth Health, beyondblue: the national depression initiative, and the Butterfly Foundation. For further information on 'Listen Up', visit: or email: listenup [AT] (Source: 'Auseinetter'v.26, n.1, April 2006, p.3.)

Families affected by mental illness

The current issue of 'SANE News' (n. 38, winter 2006, SANE Australia), focuses on the issues faced by family members when a loved one develops mental illness. It describes the Meriden Family Programme which provides training to mental health workers in the West Midlands of England on family-sensitive mental health practices, and lists SANE Australia's resources for families affected by mental illness. See:

Australian Mental Health Leadership Program

The Australian Mental Health Leadership Program (ausMHLP), a new professional development program for psychiatry graduates, is calling for applicants for 2006?07. Commencing in late July, ausMHLP participants will receive formal teaching in subjects such as mental health policy, ways to involve consumers and carers, how to apply research to policy formulation, measuring mental health outcomes, working with media and other external partners, and effective overall leadership. ausMHLP is run by the Centre for International Mental Health in collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, Barwon Health, the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research at the University of Queensland, and the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Sydney. For further information, call Jenny Burchill, ph: (03) 8344 0908 or visit: Applications must be received by 30 June, 2006. (Source: AUSEINET noticeboard, .)

Tenders invited for evaluation of KidsMatter: Australian Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative

beyondblue: the national depression initiative is inviting tenders to conduct the evaluation of Stage 1 of KidsMatter: Australian Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative. KidsMatter is a national primary schools mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative being developed by beyondblue in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, the Australian Principals Associations Professional Development Council and the Australian Psychological Society. For more information, consult the beyondblue website: (Source: AUSEINET noticeboard, )


... at the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse

In early 2006, Jane Mulroney resigned as director of the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse and has been replaced by Carrie Chan, formerly a policy officer in the NSW Government and a legal adviser at the Domestic Violence Advocacy Service. (Source: 'Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse Newsletter', n.24, p.1.)

All roads lead to ...

The Youth Portal, now points to Thesource website, at:


* The SANE Book of the Year Award for 2006 has been won by Maria Prendergast's Understanding Depression, published by Penguin Books. See:

* An award in the Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW went to Road Kill, an innovative local recording and live music project of the Wingecarribee Shire Council which has made that council 'the' place to be for young musicians. Funded by the Arrive Alive program of the Motor Accident Authority. 'Road Kill' was at the core of a program of activities and events centred on live music performance created by local young people. The program helped to form key partnerships with other community organisations and made opportunities for local young people to participate and develop their skills professionally. For more details on the project, contact Annemaree Dalziel at the Wingecarribee Shire Council, ph: (02 ) 4868 0855.


U tell it like is!

This is an online discussion group, a joint initiative by the NSW Commission for Children and Young People and U tell it like is! encourages young people across the nation to discuss online their experiences as a young person within their community. The commission is particularly interested in finding out what's important to rural and regional youth. For more information, go to:, or:


Queensland workshops

Youth workers, school-based youth health nurses, child and youth mental health workers and other Queensland health sector workers will be interested to know that Family Planning Queensland is hosting a three-day workshop with renowned UK sexuality education expert Simon Blake, as part of FPQ's HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and sexual health promotion with young people project. Simon Blake is Acting Director of Children's Development in the UK and was previously director of the Sex Education Forum, England's national authority on sexual health and relationships education. He is the author of several books including 'Just say No! to abstinence education' and 'Sex and relationships education: A step-by-step guide for teachers'. While in Queensland, Simon will be facilitating workshops on addressing the sexual and mental health needs of boys and young men, and on youth relevant responses to issues relating to sex, alcohol and drugs. For details, contact FPQ on (07) 3250 0240 or email info [AT]


Kids Help Line opposes Telstra plans to remove pay phones

Kids Help Line Operations Manager Julie Jones has criticised Telstra's plans to withdraw 5000 pay phones from service across Australia in the next year, saying that the plans will affect children's ability to access their counselling services. Jones is particularly concerned about children in rural and remote areas, where mobile phone coverage is poor, as country towns in some states will lose 50 per cent of their outdoor pay phones. Homeless young people and young Indigenous people, who often do not have access to land lines, will also have less access to telephone counselling and emergency services as a result of Telstra's plans. Over 50 per cent of calls to Kids Help Line from rural and remote areas originate from pay phones, while 16 per cent of all counselling calls to Kids Help Line originate from pay phones. (Source: 'Kids Help Line Newsletter', winter 2006, p.2.)

More bytes for secondary school girls

Helen McKernan, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Gender and Cultural Diversity at Swinburne University of Technology's Institute for Social Research, is conducting a study of the information technology (IT) habits of girls in Years 8 to 10 at eight high schools in urban, rural and remote areas of Victoria and Western Australia. The study will also examine how peers, families, teaching and school environments influence these girls' attitudes to IT. Girls participating in the study are working on 'multidisciplinary projects incorporating digital storytelling, digital diaries, movie-making, game design and animation' to 'create an interactive narrative of girls' culture across place, space and time using IT and multimedia'. These girls will also be connected with female 'role models' who are either enrolled in undergraduate IT and multimedia courses, or working in the IT industry. (Source: 'Education Review', v.16, n.3, May 2006, p.12.)


Internet-based treatment program for childhood and adolescent anxiety

Researchers at the University of Queensland's Kids Coping Team are conducting research studies into the effectiveness of an internet-based treatment program called the BRAVE program, developed for children and teenagers with anxiety. Separate research studies are being conducted for children aged 8 to 12 years and youth aged 13 to 17 years. The studies involve parents and children completing a questionnaire and telephone interview as well as the weekly cognitive-behavioural treatment program itself, which runs for 12 weeks for 8 to 12-year-olds (eight sessions involving parents) and 13 weeks for 13 to 17-year-olds (seven weeks involving parents). Researchers are currently looking for young people aged 8 to 17 years (and their parents) to be involved in the studies at a one-off cost of $100. For further information on the child program, contact ph: (07) 3365 6753; email: brave [AT]; for the youth program, contact ph: (07) 3346 9516, or email: brave4teenagers [AT] (Source: 'Courier Mail' 24 May 2006, p.22; BRAVE Program website, accessed 31 May 2006 )

World-first study to track child development

More than 2000 Western Australian families are expected to take part in a proposed world-first health study aimed at building better communities for children. The Murdoch University community health study will track hundreds of children from conception to teenage years, giving health experts unparalleled insight into child development. The study will focus on the growing Peel region south of Perth, which has a high proportion of young families but also a number of health risks in some groups. Researchers involved in the study will work closely with GPs and other medical professionals, as well as social service providers and families, to look at the range of services in the region and the types of families who use them.

The project will be run by Murdoch's Peel Health Campus Nursing Chair Professor Anne McMurray who will work closely with child health experts from Professor Fiona Stanley's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. For further information on the study, visit:, or (Source: Murdoch University 'World-first study to track child development', media release; and 'The Australian', 17/5/06, p.5.)

Holistic treatment for adolescent stuttering

Researchers at Curtin University in Western Australia have developed an innovative ten-week program to assist young adolescents who stutter badly. Called 'Investing in Parents', the program uses a combination of therapy and life-skills training to treat stuttering and includes parental training as part of a holistic management approach. Janet Beiby and Dr Michelle Byrnes, the program's developers, presented a paper on their program at a recent conference of the Speech Pathology Association of Australia. (Source: 'The Age', 10 June 2006, p.19.)


Youth and globalisation on the agenda

The International Sociological Association's RC34 'Sociology of youth' group will be gathering in July in Durban, South Africa, for the 2006 International Sociological Association World Congress of Sociology. The theme is the quality of social existence in a globalising world. One of the many youth-related panel sessions is on 'Youth studies in the 21st century: Reports from around the globe, and another is on 'Youth in and after liberation struggles'. See: (or ) and (or )

Looking at youth with the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development

The ISSBD is an international organisation that 'promotes scientific research of human development throughout the lifespan'. They're hosting their 19th biennial meeting in Melbourne on 3-7 July, and a list of keynote and invited speakers is available on the conference website. Topics include:

  • The development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children;
  • The impact of natural disasters on children and youth;
  • Adolescents 'at-risk': Fact or fiction?
  • Multiple paths to optimising aging;
  • Understanding children's art;
  • Recent research on theory of mind;
  • Children's responses to family separation;
  • Social relationships in a changing cultural context ; and
  • What developmental science is needed for people and communities in the developing world?

For more information, ph: (03) 9417 0888 or see:

First youth festival in the Pacific, 17-22 July 2006

The Ministry for youth affairs in French Polynesia and the Union Polynesienne pour la Jeunesse (UPJ), a major Tahitian youth organisation, offer the young Pacific people the opportunity to have their voices heard at the first Youth Festival in the Pacific. The event is being coordinated by UNESCO. For details, contact the Pacific Youth Bureau, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, at: (or ) and also see: (or )