Youth Mental Health and Well-being
Suicide is now the leading cause of death for Australian youth aged 16-24 (Youth Survey 2014 - Mission Australia).
This topic includes definitions of what mental health and mental illness is, types of mental illness, how mental illnesses arise, protective and risk factors in youth, most common mental health issues/illness in ages 12-24, most common forms of stress, concerns and interests of today's youth. This topic also covers family, school, community and media factors that are beneficial and detrimental for youth mental health, the common myths, discourse, stereotypes and stigma associated with mental illness and academic research outlining affective models of recovery.
Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD)
Alcohol causes more deaths and accidents in Australian youth than all other licit and illicit drugs combined (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011). Alcohol Education outlines the impact of alcohol on youth and the significant role of alcohol within Australian culture . This program identifies the significance of influential adults on youth alcohol attitudes and behaviour. We look at the importance of how alcohol affects youth very differently to adults physically, emotionally and socially.
This information outlines the issues associated with youth alcohol use, the unseen problems and how it is a community responsibility. We cover the rates of AOD consumption of youth as outlined by Australian research and data, reasons why youth drink, the individual and environmental factors that contribute to youth alcohol and other drugs issues, how schools, organisations, parents, teaching staff, peer groups and media can contribute or discourage poor choices, attitudes and behaviours regarding AOD. This information looks at how the school and wider community can combat the problem and how youth and adults perceive the roles and issues of alcohol very differently.
The information incorporates the biological impacts on youth brains and how it differs to a fully developed brain and the short and long term consequences. Information also outlines the myths and stereotypes within Australia's drinking culture and how illicit drugs gain more attention although alcohol causes more accidents and deaths than all licit and illicit drugs combined.
The information also looks at how schools can work with parents and the wider community to create either "alcohol free areas" or safer areas by understanding the legal and practical considerations of having alcohol on school premises and/or at school events or functions.
Other areas include the rates and impacts of illicit drugs including ecstacy, ICE and other amphetamines and how alcohol affects athletes before and after sport and how physiological reactions are different within athletes bodies compared to the average population.
Respectful relationships education and health promotion aims to build healthy and safe environments (physically and emotionally) for all members of the community. This program works by identifying behaviours, attitudes and values in order for all community members to work toward shared universal goals. We look at both positive and negative aspects of relationships including respect, human rights, communication, problem solving, understanding and compassion, as well as, bias, stereotypes, myths, discourse, media, bullying/harassment and violence.
We take a historical look at how societal attitudes, behaviours, values, policies and laws have developed and how they have and haven't improved over time. This topic also includes the development and evaluation of current policies and programs including but not limited to Harassment/Bulling policies, Safe work environments, Healthy and Safe Schools National Initiative and Student Engagement policy (Victorian State Government).
This topic includes all other areas of relationships mentioned in the headings below. . .
BULLYING/HARASSMENT, ABUSE AND VIOLENCE
This topic defines the types of bullying and harassment in youth populations, identifying the subtleties and complexities of implementing harassment and the impacts on victims. We also look at the different forms of abuse and violence, which are most common, where it is mostly likely to occur and by whom, why they are not reported and the impacts on physical, social and emotional health. We look at how organisational and school policies significantly increase or decrease bullying incidences and why it requires a whole community approach thereby impacting cultural health.
The topic outlines the many myths and stereotypes of bullies and bullying behaviours, the differences between young male and female bullying, the risk and protective factors, why young people bully and the short and long term consequences to both the bullies and victims.
We also look at youth violence, why it is increasing in the current youth generation, risk and protective factors and how to prevent, intervene and evaluate policies and procedures including consequences.
Throughout an individual’s life, Sexuality is a fundamental feature of being human, as it includes ones identity through sex, gender, sexual orientation, roles within relationships and the wider community, intimacy, pleasure, and reproduction. It is important to note that sex, sexuality and reproduction have significant moral and ethical considerations and that these topics need to be considered in conjunction with physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual and social aspects of health. Only through holistic, open, honest and accurate conversations and information, can we develop healthy, respectful and well-adjusted youth and relationships. (Mitchel 2004)
Sex, sexuality and reproduction have historically been identified as ethical and moral topics and often been confined to the controls of family and religious authorities. This has resulted in decades and centuries of conversations, information and health services regarding sex, sexuality and reproduction as being offensive, distasteful, restricted and/or forbidden. (Mitchel 2004) Positive and negative beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviours regarding sexuality are influenced by social, political, legal, economic, cultural, ethical, religious, spiritual, biological and psychological factors.
“Sexual Health, is a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing, it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled". (WHO 2002)
Within this area we cover;- How positive and negative beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviours regarding sex, genders and sexuality are influenced by social, political, legal, economic, cultural, ethical, religious, spiritual, biological and psychological factors, why young people are at greater risk of poor health outcomes due to so many conflicting, ongoing and rapidly changing world-wide societal attitudes and behaviours regarding sexuality. We look at the significant myths, stereotypes, discourses and messages targeted at youth and how to combat them including feminism, masculinity, misogyny and misandry.