SenseAbility Webinar 1
Welcome everybody to the first SenseAbility webinar. Just a quick request before we get started, could you make sure you have your microphones turned off? So you shouldn't have a blue microphone on your talk button. Otherwise any embarrassing noises that you unintentionally make will be broadcast to the entire education community. Thank you for that. Welcome to the very first SenseAbility webinar, powered by Beyond Blue and presented by Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg. It's time for us to do a quick time check and a weather check. It's about 3 o'clock here, Central Standard Time in Adelaide and the same time in Darwin. It's 1:30 over in the West and Singapore, and 3:30 over in the Eastern states. Could you do me a favour and just pop a quick weather forecast... Oh sorry, a weather report in the text chat box? So introduce yourself to the rest of the room and to our guest Michael, while I'm talking, and let us know what the weather is like in your patch of territory right at this moment in time on this gorgeous Thursday afternoon. Thanks for that.
I'm Mark Sparvell from Principals Australia Institute. I'll be acting as your virtual emcee for this afternoon's session, which is all about how young people can benefit from social and emotional learning programs, like SenseAbility. Now we have Shannon McGeary live and available to you on our help desk this afternoon for any technical questions. You can access Shannon simply by typing in the text chat box, and she should be able to help you out. We also have Brendan Hallinan with us from Beyond Blue, and his contact details are available to you at the end of the presentation. So Brendan will also be monitoring the text chat, and also responding to any questions that might be popping up.
So welcome to Brendan, welcome to Shannon, obviously to our guest Michael and to Lucy who's joining us with Michael this afternoon for this fantastic session. Now this event is going to be recorded and also any activity in the text chat box will be transcribed and made available to you with any other resources that Michael refers to or uses in the course of this afternoon's presentation. And that will all be available to you in our purpose built online community. Details of that at the end of the session, so make sure you stay around so you can find out how to access those. In terms of the flow of the afternoon, after you've endured me for a few moments, and thank you for those weather reports. We will listen-in to Michael. After about a half an hour, we'll have a live Q&A session with Michael facilitated by myself and with input possibly from Brendan.
Your job while you're listening to Michael's session, this afternoon is to make comments in the text chat box. What is it that you're hearing? What is it that you're thinking? What are the challenges, the opportunities? What are the questions that haven't been asked, or the questions that haven't been answered? What additional information do you require to explore further? So, we would encourage you, as we go along to use the text chat box as a place to think out loud, in the spaces between one another, and help us with our Q&A session by generating some great questions.
Now, Michael's input is going to be primarily around the SenseAbility resource, but we know that Michael is also going to draw upon his extensive experience in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness Skills, and the interventions that have been drawn from Positive Psychology research. Michael is one of Australia's highest profiled psychologists. He's a prolific author, an I... Demand presenter and a very, very busy father. With great pleasure, I'd ask you to place your virtual hands together, and you can find those over to the left of the screen, just above the participant pane where there's a smiley face. If you click on that smiley face, you will be able to find a virtual applause button. So with great pleasure, please place those virtual hands together as we introduce Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg... Michael.
Looks like Michael is just coming out of the green room, his make-up's been done perfectly, and I would say he's here now.
I am indeed. Thank you very much Mark. Thank you for that lovely introduction, and welcome to all the people who've joined our little show. This is probably the most important webinar that I've been involved in for a long time, simply by virtue of the fact that I can't think of anything right now that is more important than building resilience and well-being in young people. And of course, I'm a great believer in this particular package. Now one of the things that is terribly important is that I thank the Principals Australia Institute for putting this on. And I'm not actually able to move my slide at the moment because the button that I'm supposed to have to move it has actually vanished. So, I'm not quite sure why, just hang on. Oh, there we go, it's moved. I don't know if that was me. No, it wasn't me, someone else is moving it, okay. Hang on, bear with us people.
She's giving me moderating... We're up, brilliant. We're up, we're up. Fantastic. Okay, we'll start again. So thank you very much Principals Australia, and thank you very much Beyond Blue for putting this on. What we'll cover today is pretty straightforward. I'm gonna outline what SenseAbility is and why it was developed. I'm gonna then talk a little bit about why challenging unhelpful thinking is important for young people, particularly negative self talk and its connection to the high prevalent disorders that we're dealing with in psychology everyday, such as anxiety and depression, and potentially, even substance abuse.
We'll look at the SenseAbility model, which is essentially a cognitive behavioural model which talks about helping young people to think about thinking, just about the most important thing you can do for young people in 2013. And then we'll talk about some essential skills, a six-skill set, which is, of course, part of the SenseAbility package. So that's what we're gonna cover today, and I look forward to seeing all your questions.
So first of all, what is SenseAbility and why was it developed? Well, let's look at why it was developed. It was developed I think out of the fact that the research is pretty dire at the moment. It's not giving us terribly much good news. One reading at the latest research suggests that this is arguably now one of the most vulnerable generations in the history of Australia. And while there is considerable and legitimate debate as to whether these figures represent the real increase or we're just getting better at judging and identifying these young people, I think you will agree that these prevalence figures make spectacularly bad reading, particularly when you consider the all-important link between well-being and learning. So if you think about your average secondary classroom, we now are saying that a mental health problem probably exists in about one in four of those young people, when it comes to primary school, about one in seven. So clearly, things are not quite the way we would want them to be.
And while the high prevalence disorders continue to be depression and anxiety and substance abuse, Mission Australia each year, test the abuse of some 15,000 young people aged about 15-19. So, we're talking middle to late adolescence. I think this makes compelling reading. Because what it tells us is what the young people are struggling with at the moment. And I frankly dread to wait to see the 2013 figures, because as you can see from this, we've had a steady increase in the school and study problems, the coping with stress, and of course, the ubiquitous problem of body image. So these are issues which need to be addressed. And my contention to all of you today is that probably there is no better way in which we can begin to address the problems that underlie these issues than by introducing the SenseAbility package into your particular educational environment.
And while this talk obviously focuses on the mainstream, you can't walk away from the fact that our indigenous young people are probably suffering even more. As Professor George Patton said in April 2012, "Indigenous young people are three times as likely to die from suicide and twice as likely to die in a car accident". So all of the problems that we're looking at can go double or maybe even triple for that population.
So, what is the current situation and what is the challenge? Well, one of the things that psychologists would argue on a regular basis, and in fact one of the reasons why I am a child and adolescent psychologist, is because it is simply a fact that 75% of all the psychological problems we see in human beings actually begin before the age of 25. So logic dictates that if we can get in particularly in secondary school and give young people the skills and the knowledge and the strategies to cope with the various stressors that they're facing... And certainly, the Mission Australia study gives an indication what those are, then obviously, we could potentially forestall or in some cases eliminate what would otherwise be a fairly miserable trajectory.
The problem we have is that 70% of the girls and about 80% of the boys simply don't seek help. So in any school environment, you've got these little time bombs waiting to go off. And of course, the current situation is so serious because 50% of the young people with the most serious problems never get the help that they need. Now you have to understand from a psychological point of view, why this is so critical. We know that prompt intervention in terms of prompt diagnosis, prompt treatment is associated with a much better outcome. But what's happening at the moment is because these young people aren't being identified, because they don't have the skills and the knowledge and the strategies to deal with the stressors that they're facing, they actually develop additional problems. So you might have a young person who starts out being a bit depressed, that gets worse, and then to deal with the depression they might use marijuana, and then they might have law and order problems, and then they're gonna have academic problems, and the whole thing just spirals downwards. So we do need to think about this in a logical way.
I'm afraid the results of the latest research conducted by the Young and Well Cooperative Research Center give even more ammunition for why one would want to use the SenseAbility program. This is called Game On, and it explored the impact of technology and particularly on young men. And this is quite simply the most staggering piece of research that I've seen for many years. When you look at the fact that 20% of the young men in this study felt genuinely that life was no longer worth living, now you have to ask yourself "What on earth were we doing educationally with these young men, so that they left school feeling that they didn't have the skills to deal with the problems, that they got to the point where they no longer feel that life is worth living?"
Now just think for a second, we live in a country which is by all accounts the "lucky country". We're supposed to be a country with no civil wars, no widespread malnutrition. Yet literally, 20% of these young men feel nothing but despair. So if there was ever an argument for SenseAbility, this would be it. And I suspect that you would agree with me.
But of course it's not just our boys, we know that girls also are having significant problems. There was a report last month that looked at self-harm in young women aged 15 to 24. Now this was self-harm of such severity that the young people had to be hospitalised. So we're not talking just about scratching across a radial artery, we're talking here about major psychological problems. So that has doubled since the year 2000. So I've always believed that girlhood has been under siege now for quite sometime. And I think what you have to understand is, that the risk and protective factors impacting our young people in Australia are simply out of whack. What we've got at the moment, is a situation where the risk factors are simply not being counted in the way perhaps they were in the past upon their protective factor, the psychological mooring post, if you like of our youth. And that might have been things like an extended family not moving around so much. Certainly not the influence, the negative influence of the technology.
But that's a discussion that we can have ad nauseam, as to why this is happening. But the really crucial thing that you have to think about is "Well, what's happened to the caregivers?" And of course, the Australian Psychological Society conducted a study in December last year looking at stress in adults. And what they actually found is that one in seven adults, Australians, feel a little bit like this dog. They just know something dreadful is about to happen, and they're just hoping that they have the capacity to get out in time. This isn't just mild stress we're talking about. This is one in seven adult carers saying, "Look I actually have severe stress in my life."
Now the other thing you have to remember is that in the general population, as you go about your daily work, particularly with parents of the school community, 20% of those people are going to have a mental health problem. Some of them will be diagnosed and are being treated, but the vast majority, sadly, aren't, and that is problematic for you, that is something that you have to take into account. So one of the major protective factors in the lives of these young people used to be their adult carers. And what I'm trying to suggest to you is that maybe some of them are really struggling with looking after themselves, let alone the young people.
So what do we then do? Well we have to look at essentially, the mental health services that exists in Australia today. And what I've put up here is who's available. And essentially we've got 25,000 GPs. Now under the current Medicare system, including head space, GPs are supposed to be the backbone of adolescent mental health care in Australia. But the reality is that not all of these GPs either have an interest or the training in dealing with young people with psychological problems. So there's one challenge. Then there about 24,000 psychologists. And again, not all of them are interested in young people, or are all trained in that area. And this is the most staggering figure, and I bet most people don't realize this: Did you know there are only 3,500 psychiatrist in the whole of this country? And of them, not all of them have a interest or training in young people. And then we've got the social workers in the OTs, and I could have whacked in the mental health nurses as well.
The point is, this is manifestly a work force under immense stress, and there's just no way that it can cope with what we're dealing with. So I feel very much like an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. But here is where SenseAbility comes in because I want you to imagine SenseAbility as the robust sense at the top of this cliff. Because I can't do anything about separation and divorce, I can't do very much about the fact that there's gambling problems and alcohol and drug use in families, but what we can do is we can take advantage of the fact that in this country, the vast majority of young people do in fact attend school.
And look, the key about SenseAbility is it's raising the emotional literacy of these young people. It's giving them specific skills so they can cope with the ups and downs of life. And there's no question that the ups and downs of life are gonna continue. And my contention to you is I think they're probably gonna get a little bit worse before they get better. And the really sad pointy end of this, of course is when young people either in your school or who have been in your school choose to end their lives. And there've been a couple of really solid examples of this. And I won't just remind you of them, because these are the students who slip through the welfare net, who don't have the skills and the knowledge and the strategies that they need to cope.
So, if you've got time over the next couple of days, have a look at the story of Campbell Bolton, screened on Four Corners on the ABC. This was a young man who was ducks of his school four years in a row before collapsing in a heap in year 11 and taking his own life. I mean it was just the most tragic thing. Then there is another story, which I was actually very closely involved in in the making of this particular program, an Australian story on a girl called Hanna Modra. And this was a young woman who was quite simply brilliant, but she actually died of depression. And she died of depression because she kept a secret diary, and we know what she went through. But again, the schools' education system would have had a huge impact on this young woman, if she had been able to access the resources in SenseAbility. And then of course you've got the more recent story of story of Paige Rose, "There's No 3G In Heaven". All of those are really good reminders, not just for you, but also your fellow staff as to why we need SenseAbility. And all those things... A picture, a video is just a marvellous way to get the message across.
So, what causes depression? What do we know about the underpinnings of these types of illness? Because of course, 80% of the young people that take their own lives, have a mental illness, and the most common one is depression. And this was a very good paper which didn't get much kind of publicity, which is a shame. It was by a mate of mine called James Burns, and Professor Gavin Andrews is a psychiatrist in Sydney. And in this particular paper, they summarise what causes depression in young people... It's available online, it's well worth reading. But they make a point which really underpins why we need SenseAbility, and that is, they talk about the fact that enhanced life-skills and family environments can mediate the effects of stress or life events. And what we know about depression particularly in young people and children, is that it's the cumulative adverse experiences, particularly the early childhood adversity, together with parental depression, a history of depression in the family, and a non-supportive school family environment, that put these young people at great risk. So, this is again a really solid reason why you'd wanna use SenseAbility.
So, what is it? Well, it's I think, the Rolls Royce of strength-based resiliency programs. And there's no question in my mind that it's the one for you. If you've got the secondary school and you're dealing with kids from 12 to 18. This is designed for all students, but you can use it for special groups, groups that you identify as having special needs, and it was developed from a previously existing secondary school program. So, it's actually not so been plucked out of the air, it's been developed over a period of time. It contains a number of really fabulous modules, and all of these involve the core-activities, plenty of time personal reflection, and lots of examples of real-life applications. To tell you how good this is, I actually use segments of this in my clinical practice. So, when I'm explaining to young people for example, the importance of self talk and challenging self talk, I'll very often use the modules, the video modules that are actually on the SenseAbility portal.
So, as a teacher you get far more. You get the classroom activities, the reference guides and of course, suggested film and text which explore each of these senses. So, look it's based on CBT. Now, a lot of people don't recognize or realize how important this is. Look it's very important. No one can have a feeling unless they first have a thought. And when it comes to anxiety and depression, what we often find is that people have a whole lot of really distorted, unhelpful thoughts that lead them to think in ways that can only mean that you feel terrible and then you behave terribly. So, it really does look at the number one evidence-based psychological theory that psychologists around the world use, and it's based on that CBT framework; very important. And it also, I think the great gift of this is it helps young people think about their thinking, and gives them the skills to be able to recognize when they are thinking in ways that are unhelpful. But here is the great thing, it helps them to challenge them.
So, this stuff is going to serve them not just for when they're at school, but literally, for the rest of their lives. And I think as explained to you, why challenging unhelpful thinking is important, you'd have to think about the clients that I see every day, who come in with very rigid, fixed views of the world, particularly shoulds, oughts, musts and can'ts, which limit their response to so many situations, not just for their family and their friends.
One of the things that I do outside of spruiking SenseAbility is I've been the agony uncle for "Girlfriend" magazine for the last 11 years. And I've gotta tell you the girls who write to me, they often demonstrate this inflexible self-talk. And to help them challenge that, is just vital, getting them to recognize when they're thinking in ways that are unhelpful. What you need to recognize is if they have this awful self-talk, it will affect their self-esteem and confidence. But if they can develop really good ways disputing these negative thoughts, allowing them to see how much of their thinking is completely wonky, inaccurate, exaggerated, you can make such a difference.
And I guess, in many respects the reason I love my work with young people is you can actually empower them and see them for six or seven sessions, and at the end of the time, you know your work is done. They will never, ever, ever, be able to fall back on to those old ways of thinking. They'll have this flexibility, which makes such a big difference.
The ABCD model which is up one your screen now illustrates exactly what I've been talking about. And note the graphics here, note how relevant this is, 'cause it's just basically telling the young people when something happens, it's their thoughts and their interpretation of what's happened, not the event themselves that leads them to feel the way they do and to behave them in the way they do. So this is, I mean, that's just perfect. This summarises exactly what I do almost every day in my clinical practice. It is just brilliant.
The other thing that I would strongly recommend, and this is what I use. When I'm explaining to young people the importance of great communication, the importance of staying well, the importance of challenging self talk, what I'll do is I actually hand them my iPad in session, and I'll play one of these particular clips. And then I'll say, "Do you understand what it is that they have just said?" If they don't understand, you tell them again, show it to them again. And these are, of course, all on the SenseAbility YouTube channel.
I also have to throw in that there were some wonderful acts that you can use that'll also underline this. So once they've got this, you can actually suggest they download something like iCBT or even a mood kit which is the other one. But you can see on this screen how brilliant it is. So you've the event, you've got the feelings, you've got the thinking and then you've taught them the distorted ways in which people think, fortune-telling, catastrophising, living by fixed goals, whatever it is, and then you're teaching them how to make more rational thoughts. And this is just psychological gold for young people long-term, there's just nothing like it. The mood kit is very similar, it's actually my favourite, I don't use iCBT anymore. But you can download this from the iTunes store and play with it yourself, and you'll really get a very good understanding of the power of this. This is an adjunct to the SenseAbility Program. So what I'll do is I'll use SenseAbility to give people the psycho education, and then I'll give them this to go away and practice the skills that they've learned. It's just a beautiful thing.
The other great thing about SenseAbility is it teaches these six essential skills. These are really important for young people to practice. Many of them basically speak to resilience. The capacity of these young people to face, overcome, be strengthened and transformed by adversity. Now look, there's tons of literature on resilience, but I can summarise everything by making reference to a study done by Emmy Werner in Hawaii many, many years ago, and she studied a cohort of kids back in the '70s. And the interesting thing about these kids is they lived on an island where all their parents were fairly dysfunctional, very high levels of unemployment, drug use and mental illness. And what Emmy did is she followed these kids through for about 14 years and found two-thirds of these kids basically were carbon copies of their parents, they sort of collapsed and fell in a heap. But interestingly, a third weren't. And she was one of the first social scientists to use the word 'psychological resilience'. And she asked herself a question very important question: How come? How come these one-third of kids made it? And what she discovered is that they had key characteristics many of which are summed up in the SenseAbility package.
The most important one is having a charismatic adult in your life is gonna make you feel safe and valued and listened to. But then we get the SenseAbility component, the social-emotional competencies, anger management, problem solving, decision-making, the ability to name and recognize your own thoughts and feelings as well as the thoughts and feelings of the people around you.
The self-talk stuff we've just discussed, the ABCD model. And then also they've thrown in spirituality in the islands of confidence which is basically what Steve Biddulph in his marvellous book, "Raising Girls", called "spark" which is the capacity of the young people to be involved in activities which are meaningful to them: Art, music, dance, drama and of course, sport; all terribly important.
So, look at what SenseAbility has to offer. Virtually all of the components here are essential for the building of resilience. And when the kid walks out of your school for the very last time, I'm delighted that they're numerate and I'm delighted that they're literate. But the really important thing in this world, this challenging world is that they are able to basically use these skills in a way that is gonna enable them to cope with the pressures that they face and this, it's just now... In my view, it's as important if not more important than Maths and English. And I might offend some teachers by saying that but I'm the psychologist, you'd expect me to.
So look, the six senses that SenseAbility talk about, the sense of future hopefulness... One of the key characteristics I see in young people who are terribly depressed, who are very anxious is this lack of hope, this classic what I call negative triad. When many of the young people sit in front of me, they've got a negative view of themselves, a negative view of their environment, and that could be school, home, peers, but also a negative view of their future. So this, to me, is incredibly important.
Giving the capacity, the kids the capacity to cope with life's challenges, literally to see things as they are, but to focus on the good bits. To literally give them the gift of being able to turn things around. If you can't change something, you can always change the way that you think about it. SenseAbility gives these young people the capacity to do that. There is, of course, the sense of belonging. And if you talk to people like Andrew Fuller he'll tell you that one of the key threads in the resiliency literature is the sense of belonging, feeling safe and valued and listened to, finding purpose and meaning in your life, having that belief in your strengths, particularly the character strengths that we talk about in positive psychology, the 24 key character strengths. I'm a great believer if we can help young people identify their top five character strengths and get them to utilize them everyday, to design their life so they're using them everyday for the rest of their lives, we've really set them up for a life of well-being. And of course, to have a sense of humour which we know is very, very important, particularly if you support any other team than Hawthorne.
More importantly... I had to bring football in, and I'm sorry. More importantly, do you need special training to deliver SenseAbility? Well, here's the great thing. The good people at Beyond Blue have actually put online a free professional learning program designed for education, health, and community centres. So workers with young people in health education and welfare now have the capacity to deliver SenseAbility and, in particular, the essential skills module. So, they've really made it perfect. Then if you look at that, it basically takes you very gently through all of the things that you need to know in order to deliver this life-saving, I would argue, important package.
Do you have to know that it is a curriculum program which fits into the national curriculum, and a lot of people argue this is a stand alone thing. Well, it's very important you to understand it's relatively easy to integrate this into the rest of the curriculum, because everybody I speak to in schools across Australia all say to me, "Oh, but the curriculum is so crowded". Look, this is just about the most important set of skills the young people will need. And if you look at the whole school matters and the community matters, data in MindMatters, that fabulous framework that's been around now for a long time, this fits in beautifully with that framework. So, it complements it, and it is a key component of the enhancing resilience curriculum material.
Look, for more information... And I've spoken for exactly 30 minutes, so Mark will be very happy with me. For more information you need to talk to my mate Brendan Hallinan and I've spoken to him and he's very happy for you to email him on email@example.com or you can find him on that number, and I think you'll find that very, very informative. So, I hope that's useful and I look forward to answering some of your questions. I will now hand back to the talented and handsome Mark.
Oh, you snooty Michael Carr-Gregg you. Thank you for that excellent importation around the SenseAbility resource. And it also picked up along the way a lots of other really important things to do with values, education, and character ed and so on. What we're going to do now everyone, is we're going to seek questions from the audience to ask Michael. I'm going to read through some of my notes and some of my questions and invite Michael to add a little bit more information, and then we'll cast over to you. Now, you'll notice, apart from your text chat functions that you can generate some questions in there now, but you'll notice that along the top near where you've got your participant panel on the left hand side, there is a virtual hands-up button. So I've just put my hand up. So, it might be that somebody has a question, a comment or a statement they'd like to make and they might like to put up their hands and ask that to Michael directly.
But while Michael has a chance to look through the text chat, let me just touch on a couple of the things that I've heard. I heard lots of questions, some good input from James. So James asked a little bit around this notion of engaging fathers in education, and obviously its benefits or whether there are particular examples where that might be happening. So, that's one thing that I noted. That came after the slide that was shown around 1 in 7 adult carers experience stress which I thought was a great one. Jenny had some interesting input. Jenny's at an all-boys school, and her comment was that she has more boys seeking help than she can manage at the moment. And if I could reach parents, I believe the boys would have less issues. So there's something that we might pick up in just a moment.
There seemed to be a very strong theme coming through about the Australian curriculum, Michael, and I'm glad that you referred to that, and that's come through quite strongly. And a comment that I picked up was that obviously the general capabilities that underpin the delivery of the Australian curriculum explicitly make mention of social and emotional capabilities which have a focus on resilience, conflict management, the development of self-worth, and a positive view of the world.
So, for the people that have been asking comments about how might this fit within the curriculum, it would appear that the answer to that could well be sitting within the curriculum as it is a general capability and part of the broad purpose of schooling in Australia. The other thing that I picked up from the commentary in the box, was I guess, and I think Michael talked about this. It was the, "Why is this happening?" So, "Why do we seem to be overwhelmed at this moment in time by these burgeoning issues of mental health and well-being, particularly as Michael said, we seem to be sitting in the 'lucky country'?"
So, Michael, what I'm going to ask you to do is, could I get you to talk a little bit about the role of fathers? So, there's a comment made by James about rough-and-tumble play building resilience. Another comment was made around how do we engage fathers, what's their role in this. So maybe I'll get you to talk a little bit about Dad's business, and then we'll keep an eye on the text chat for more. Michael.
Can I tell you that for 500 years, boys were around their fathers, and then we had the Industrial Revolution. And what happened is all these dads disappeared, and they went off to the mills, and they basically came home very late at night, and the words "wait until your father gets home" rung around the world. But essentially, the fathers, when they got home, they were too tired, too exhausted, to basically interact with these boys. And I think that this trend sadly has continued.
There's an excellent book by a guy called David Blankenhorn called "Under-fathered America" as America's greatest social problem. And I've got to be honest with you. I think it's becoming a really big issue for us in Australia now. 13% of the primary school teachers in this country are male. And many years ago, I was part of a select committee in Parliament, and I was arguing that we should give special scholarships for young men to enter into both primary and secondary education, but sadly it was voted down. And the result is, that we have by and large a feminisation of our primary school, and there's still not enough good men, not just in primary, but also in secondary.
So I think under-fathered kids are a huge problem because if your dad isn't there, you're going to develop what I call "father hunger". And if you develop father hunger, you look around for models of masculinity. And of course, where do they get them from? They get them from Hollywood. And Sylvester Stallone and Claude Van Damme are not in my view good models of masculinity. So I think we have to really strive, [A] to get more men into primary school, but also, we have to articulate to the young people what are the character strengths of masculinity.
And this is where it dovetails nicely, we have Peterson and Seligman's work around character strengths. Get them to look for the characteristics of men that we would say are psychologically adaptive. So I think it's an incredibly important question. The rough-and-tumble play is very important. If you read the works of Steve Biddulph on raising boys, we know how important that rough-and-tumble play is in terms of building great contacts and great affection with male role models around you. So I think it's crucial, and I hope I've answered that part.
Great. Thank you, Michael. And I did jot down the title of Steve's new book, "Raising Boys," and that can be one for the medical profession to go crazy, I'm sure. Michael, I've tried to pick up a thread of dialogue in the text chat and it goes something like this: It seems that there's this tension, there's this tension between high-stakes testing, and there's this tension between validating emotional literacy. Can that be tested? Can that be measured? I've got, obviously my own thoughts about answers, but you're the star of this dialogue at the moment. Be interested to hear your thoughts around that tension point, the high-stakes testing, and these skills, interpersonal, intra-personal skills, can we test for them? Should we?
Well, I think they're incredibly important. Obviously, I'm a psychologist, you'd expect me to say that. But can I just point out that one of the most high-risk groups at the moment that we're beginning to see emerging... And I have just written a fact sheet for Beyond Blue on them, is in fact year 12 students. And a particular study that took my attention was one done by Karen McGraw, which found that 31% of year 12 students in her survey of 961 year 12 kids in Victoria, 31% had depression, 41% had clinically significant levels of anxiety, and about 13% were actively suicidal.
Now, for me, I'm wondering how much of that stress that those young people are feeling, is because of this view that they are their ATAR. I've never believed that you are your ATAR. I believe that there are many different ways to get where you need to go, and I'm just wondering about all the pressure that we're putting on them. And it starts of course even when they're young through NAPLAN. Now I'm not an educationalist so I wouldn't want to venture an opinion as to the desirability of NAPLAN testing. All I can say is that I don't think NAPLAN tests for emotional climate in a school, I don't think it tests for social and emotional competencies, and I don't think it really does what as a psychologist, I would like it to do. So for me, the social and emotional competencies are always gonna be the most important things. Do I think you can test for them? Well, absolutely you can test for them, and you can actually measure them. A lot of the principles of positive psychology, the PERMA Model, are there because they're measurable, and therefore, I'm a great fan of introducing that into schools. But I'd be very interested in hearing your thoughts.
Thanks for that Michael. And anybody that wants to contribute something along those lines, drop that in the text chat box, and I need to do some thinking around that one. Michael, a question has come up, and I think it's a connected question. It's around, "Are there any studies qualitative or quantitative, which correlate learning outcomes to, as you referred to the cultural compass, the cultural conditions, the social-emotional protective factors within a school? Is there anything like that happening on the world stage or within Australia?"
Don't know about Australia, but I think there are a number of studies which have made a clear connection between emotion well-being and learning, and that is now I think taken as given. Very interesting because I had a debate on television twice this week. One particular study that was released out of the UK talked about the undesirability of putting ordinary kids in with very bright kids or at a very competitive school saying that that wasn't actually very good for them. One of the things that I pointed out was Ken Rowe's original Australian study which looked at what was the greatest predictor of academic success, and that was of course teacher quality. And I've always believed that if you've got a teacher who can engage kids, who can actually demonstrate all of these particular skills that we're talking, that's actually one of the most powerful ways they can learn; by teachers modelling everything that we've talked about today. And therefore, I think that's the greatest predictor of academic success but also of course of personal success.
Good. Thanks for that Michael. I noticed in the text chat box, there's a little bit of dialogue going in and around PERMA Model being used very well in schools, adopted part of the schools' strategic plan. And that's something I'm not aware of, so Caroline Hiaasen, make sure that you hold on to that. Michael just a final... This might seem a little trivial question, but I know from my experience in schools as a principal, as a teacher, you start to wonder... So this is with your psychologist hat on, the big question from the room. Do kids catch anxiety from their parents?
Look, there is actually a degree of in-heritability around not just anxiety but also depression. So, if you actually read that article that I put up on the screen, what you'll see is, in that summary Professor Andrews and Jane Burns both pointed out the fact that if you have a parent who has depression, your likelihood of developing it increases to about 40%, if you've got a mum and a dad, that's 50%. So it's not entirely genetic, there is obviously an environmental component but you can't walk away from the genetics, they're there and they're important. And it's not just in anxiety and depression, it also relates to the more serious problems of schizophrenia and psychosis.
Thanks Michael. A question for you Michael and maybe for Brendan too. My assumption is that this slide show stack will be okay for us to make available to participants after the event. Is that okay with you Michael?
I don't have any problem with that at all, and Brendan's just given me two thumbs up, so it's doubly okay.
That's doubly okay? Okay. What I've just popped in the text chat box again for people's reference is your Twitter handle. Michael, you've got about 5,000 followers and increasing daily, I'm sure, so that's @mcg58, is that correct?
Yes. These are all people who have the good taste to watch Sunrise morning television. And God bless them and all of you. Yes, I'd be very happy to answer any questions or comments that people wanna send me a tweet directly.
Fantastic. And what we're going to do, participants in the room at the moment, is in a few minutes' time, we're going to let Michael and his extensive entourage... Only joking. We're going to allow them to leave our fabulous offices in Adelaide, and then I'm gonna hold on to you for about 10 more minutes to show you the online place and space where you can access the recording, the resources, the PowerPoint stack, the transcript and so on, which you can then re-purpose and make use with your own staff and your own colleagues and networks to help them get briefed up if you like, with this introduction into the SenseAbility resource. Michael, could I go back to you for one last time with any closing comments, suggestions, actions, the things that you want people to take away, think about and possibly to act upon as a result from today?
Sure. I'd just like to point out that many years ago, Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, pointed out that young people were 18%, just 18%, of the population, but they were a 100% of the future. And I believe that that future lies very much in the hands of the good men and women who are in education, health, and welfare looking after those young people in Australia today. We need to equip them with the skills and the knowledge and the strategies to be able to handle the ups and downs of life. I believe SenseAbility is the answer for many of those young people, and I am most grateful for the opportunity to do this webinar. And I wanna thank you, Mark, for being such a wonderful host.
You're too kind. Thank you, Michael. And Michael, we wanna thank you. We've been privileged to have you share your passion and your commitment to our shared work around this area of supporting the social and emotional well-being of young people. And the SenseAbility resource, as you've talked about, certainly gives young people the tools to re-frame their view of the world and also their view of themselves and the opportunities from that. So everybody in the room, don't think I'm gonna hold on to you for five minutes, but could we put together a virtual hand for Michael Carr-Gregg? That's in your top left hand corner. And you can see there's a lot of love happening in that virtual room, Michael, through comments in the text chat box, which will all be transcribed and available to people. I think...
Thanks very much.
Thank you very much, Michael. And people, we'll just move on to our next bit now. You've been a very patient audience. That was a fantastic session, I'm sure you'll agree. It's important that the conversation continues, and you can access the resources. So what I'm going to show you in just about five slides in five minutes is an online community that's been set up for the Beyond Blue SenseAbility webinar series. And my good friend Shannon McGeary will pop the Palnet web address in the text chat box. When you go to the Palnet community, which is the profession's own online community of practice, it's completely free and managed by Principals Australia Institute for everyone involved in leading education. Once you get to Palnet, this is the homepage. You'll see that you can type in up the top here, SenseAbility, and click on the search button, and that will take you through to the SenseAbility webinar page, okay? Because we don't want to lose you. I'll just pop the Palnet web address in the text chat box myself. Okay, there you go. Great.
Once you get there, you'll be able to navigate to this page. So we've created a landing page just for the SenseAbility webinar series. You can find out, you can access the recording from there, plus also the Beyond Blue website. So you'll be able to re-watch Michael Carr-Gregg's presentation about the SenseAbility materials from today. Keeping in mind when you're viewing a recording, you can drag the little video and make it full screen. So you can show it to your whole staff, your leadership team. You can share that link with your colleagues, so feel free to share the love.
Now, importantly, within that group, you'll find there's some forums. And within the forum, we've set some discussion spots for you to have a conversation.
So let's imagine that you've gone home or back to work, and you've thought up some questions about the SenseAbility materials, and you'd like an answer to it, you'd like to access some of the materials, you'd like to grab the PowerPoint presentation, the readings, you'd like to quickly view those YouTube clips that Michael referred to, all of that material plus more, will be available in this space for people that have attended the webinar series.
So, Principals Australia Institute manages this space, and we would encourage you after you've finished in the next couple of days and you've let your busy thoughts lie, drop down to palnet.edu.au.
Thank you, Denise, you're a fan. Search up SenseAbility and you're going to find everything you need, plus a little bit more.
Okay, my friends, that brings us to almost the end. It's almost 3:54 here in Adelaide on a gorgeous Thursday. You've been part of Beyond Blue's SenseAbility webinar 1, presented by Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg, who did a sensational job. You've been fantastic in the text chat area. Thank you for your contributions. Thank you, Shannon McGeary for your help on the tech help desk, and thank you again to Michael for his input. And Brendan from Beyond Blue, it's been a pleasure hosting your first webinar for you. Thank you, everybody. Travel safely.
I'm about to hop on a plane and head to the UK via Dubai. I'll be thinking of you while I'm sipping on champagne in first class. I'm Mark Sparvell. See you at the next webinar.
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