Presenters & Abstracts, 2018 MHIS

Confirmed Speakers 

Preventing depression, anxiety and suicide in high school students

This presentation addresses what we can do to prevent depression, anxiety and suicide in high schools. It outlines: the prevalence of depression in young people, the long-term consequences if we don’t act, evidence from research trials that show prevention programs in schools can make a difference, and new initiatives to improve prevention, empower young people and offer better services.

Scientia Professor Helen Christensen (Presenting in Sydney)
Director and Chief Scientist at the Black Dog Institute & Professor of Mental Health at UNSW

Scientia Professor Helen Christensen is Director and Chief Scientist at the Black Dog Institute and a Professor of Mental Health at UNSW. She is one of only two National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) John Cade Research Fellows and Chief Investigator for the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP).

Professor Christensen is an international leader in the use of technology to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies to communities and individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression, or who are at risk of suicide. Professor Christensen leads the Digital Dog team that is investigating novel methods for detecting mental health risk via social media, and developing novel interventions for mental health treatment. The Digital Dog team focuses on interventions to target depression, suicide risk and to enhance wellbeing.

Professor Christensen also leads the LifeSpan trial that will investigate a novel systems approach to suicide prevention in NSW. This trial aims to reduce the number of suicide deaths by 21% and the number of suicide attempts by 30%.

Professor Christensen's research also encompasses prevention of mental health problems in young people through school-based research programs. These programs are aimed at prevention of depression and suicide risk through eMental Health interventions. Professor Christensen has recently published the novel approach to preventing the onset of depression through targeting insomnia with the SHUTi program.

Dr Yael Perry (Presenting in Melbourne)

Dr Yael Perry is a clinical researcher and psychologist, and currently holds the position of Research Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, WA. She also holds adjunct appointments at the University of Western Australia and Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales. Dr Perry conducts applied research on the prevention and treatment of mental illness in young people, with a focus on novel online and mobile technologies. In her previous role at the Black Dog Institute, Dr Perry lead the implementation of two large, school-based trials, which investigated the effectiveness of interventions designed to improve mental health literacy, reduce stigma and prevent depression. In 2017, she relocated to Perth and joined the Youth Mental Health team at Telethon Kids Institute. She continues to develop and evaluate novel mental health interventions for vulnerable young people.

Dr Orli Schwartz is a clinical psychologist and research fellow at the University of Melbourne, with a specialisation in child and adolescent mental health. She is involved in a number of research projects examining risk and protective factors in child and adolescent development, such as the family environment, brain development, and sleeping difficulties. She is particularly interested in examining how these factors interact to influence vulnerability and resilience to depression and other mental health problems across development. Dr Schwartz also works clinically in private practice, where she specializes in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and their families.

Adolescent Sleep and Mental Health: Lessons for Schools from the SENSE (Sleep and Education: learning New Skills Early) Study.

Recent reports highlight an ‘epidemic’ of sleep deprivation in adolescence, and evidence suggests that poor sleep increases risk for mental health difficulties. The SENSE Study is a randomised control trial investing the impact of a sleep-improvement program on adolescent mental health. The 7-week group program draws on techniques including sleep hygiene education, stimulus control, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural therapy. Adolescents who completed the sleep improvement group demonstrated fewer anxiety symptoms and behavioural problems, better overall sleep quality, less daytime sleepiness, and the ability to fall asleep more quickly than adolescents who received a matched control intervention. This presentation will highlight some of the common barriers to sleep that many adolescents experience, with a focus on practical approaches schools can take to improve their students’ sleep and mental health.


Rachael Parker is the founder of Ocean Mind and a Youth Worker with over 10 years’ experience working with children and young people. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Youth Work), Certificate IV in Alcohol and other Drugs, Mental Health First Aid and Surf Coaching. Rachael is experienced in programme implementation and management, project design, youth work, rolling out evidence based and innovative programs including staff training.

Rachael is passionate about using the outdoor environments to create positive experiences and opportunities for young people to grow and prosper. Since discovering surfing in 2015, she’s combined her passion for the ocean and working with young people to create Ocean Mind. She loves nothing more than sharing her love of the ocean with young people and teaching them to find the stoke in the surf and their lives.

Richy Bennett is a pioneering consultant, mentor and keynote speaker in Performance Psychology. He was the first psychologist to work globally on the World Surf League, authored the seminal book “The Surfer's Mind” and has enjoyed several senior roles within Australian Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games teams. In addition Richy has consulted widely in community, indigenous and youth mental health services including headspace Geelong and lectured in early childhood development at Victoria University.

Richy loves bringing nature to nurture. His unique approach blends high performance psychology with mindful, heartful play in nature to cultivate wellbeing, harmony and potential. Based in Jan Juc, Victoria, Richy consults locally and globally in a range of performance domains, including sport, performing arts, extreme/adventure pursuits, emergency/military services, corporate, healthcare, family and education.

Ocean Mind – Changing lives through surfing
Ocean Mind is a not for profit organisation providing surfing activities and support for young people aged 8-18 who may be at risk or experiencing challenges with mental health, social isolation or disability.

In 2016 Ocean Mind piloted our first Surf Mentor Program on Victoria’s Surf Coast. Using the simple recipe of Surf + Fun + Friendship, the program connects young people with a volunteer Surf Mentor who works with them 1:1 in the waves and on the beach for 6 

weeks. The pilot was highly successful and through ongoing delivery and refinement in 2017, Ocean Mind evolved the program to also include preventative and early intervention strategies for students at risk of disengaging from school in the transition period between primary and secondary school. This new Surf Mentor Program is being piloted at St Thomas Aquinas School in 2018.

Rachael Parker, founder of Ocean Mind and Richy Bennett, Surf Psychology pioneer and author of “The Surfer’s Mind”, will share how Ocean Mind’s simple recipe of Surf + Fun + Friendship is guiding healthy personal, social and educational development for participants, along with benefits for mentors and the broader community, and the latest update on the 2018 Surf Mentor School Program.


Associate Professor Craig Hassed works at the Department of General Practice and is coordinator of mindfulness programs at Monash University. His teaching, research and clinical interests include mindfulness-based stress management, mind-body medicine, meditation, health promotion, integrative medicine and medical ethics. Craig is regularly invited to speak and run courses in Australia and overseas in health, professional and educational contexts and has collaborated with a number of national and international universities helping them to integrate similar content. He was the founding president of the Australian Teachers of Meditation Association and is a regular media commentator. He writes regularly for medical journals and has published thirteen books;

  • “New Frontiers in Medicine” (Volumes 1 and 2)
  • “Know Thyself” on mindfulness-based stress management
  • “The Essence of Health” on the lifestyle approach to health and chronic illness
  • A textbook co-authored with Kerryn Phelps, “General Practice: the integrative approach”
  • A book written with Stephen McKenzie, “Mindfulness for Life”
  • A book written with Richard Chambers, “Mindful Learning” on the role of mindfulness in education
  • "Playing the genetic hand life dealt you" on epigenetics
  • "The Mindful Home", written with Deirdre Hassed
  • A book written with Patricia Dobkin, “Mindful Medical Practitioners” on the role of mindfulness in medical education
  • “Illuminating Wisdom”, a book of calligraphic art written with Deirdre Hassed
  • “The Freedom Trap” exploring different perspectives on freedom

Craig also featured in the documentary, The Connection and wrote the companion e-book, “The Mindfulness Manual” and co-authored with Richard Chambers the free online Mindfulness course in collaboration with Monash University and FutureLearn.

Mindfulness - the hype, the hopes and the fears

The growth in interest and uptake of mindfulness in recent years has been nothing short of extraordinary. This has been on the back of an exponential rise in the amount of research on mindfulness' applications in a range of areas including mental and physical health, education, neuroscience, epigenetics and performance. Amongst all the promise there have also been some questions and concerns raised about the safety and effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions. This keynote address will explore the foundations and rationale for mindfulness as well as respond to the main questions and concerns raised. Key issues addressed will be the need for effective training of mindfulness teachers, adapting content to fit the purpose, and successfully integrating mindfulness curriculum.

Dr Bridget McPherson is a Psychologist who specialises in the treatment of the educational and developmental needs of young people. After completing her Doctoral thesis at RMIT University, exploring the factors associated with perpetration and victimisation of drink spiking, Bridget worked at a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Melbourne, Australia, providing care for children and adolescents with a range of complex mental health issues. Bridget commenced as Head of Counselling at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School in 2011, and has since actively worked in the provision of clinical intervention to students and families, and creation and implementation of prevention programs, including Tuning in to TeensTM Whole School Approach, Wellness Week, Failure Week, and a holistic pastoral care framework called Holding Modelling Mentoring©. Bridget regularly provides seminars to staff and parents in the Ivanhoe Girls’ community, and she has presented at a number of national conferences, including the AHISA Leading, Learning and Caring Conference in 2014 and 2018, and the Australian Psychological Society Congress in 2016. Bridget also featured in recent media coverage relating to Failure Week (see below for related links). Bridget is dedicated to addressing the difficulties that young people face today, thereby enhancing their capacity to effectively and successfully lead future generations, both locally and globally.

Strive, Tolerate, Grow©: Embracing failure, increasing resilience, improving learning

Young people today face greater risk of perfectionism than any generation that came before them, resulting in lowered self-esteem (Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia, 2015), psychological disorders (Kothari, Egan, Wade, Andersson, & Shafran, 2016), and behaviours that impede learning. Several contributing factors, including education requirements, social media, economic instability, gender-based expectations, and information access, are exerting an explicit and unique influence on adolescents as they undertake the physical, cognitive and psychological tasks of their specific developmental stage. This is resulting in a strong fear of failure and an avoidance of challenge.

Schools are powerfully positioned to instil a different philosophy in young people. Rather than focussing on achievement and outcomes, schools can assist young people to build capability, confidence and resilience, if they are able to teach them to embrace and learn from failure. One program that sought to achieve this was Failure Week, undertaken at Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School in 2017. Embedded within both pastoral care and curriculum realms of the school, students partook in activities that required them to Strive, Tolerate, Grow© - to challenge themselves to try tasks that featured failure, to manage the feelings induced by this failure, and to reflect on and modify failed strategies in order to produce different outcomes.

This session will outline the philosophy underlying Failure Week, and will present the process involved in developing and implementing the program, providing attendees with opportunities to consider and plan the inclusion of Failure Week activities in their own organisations, thereby reducing perfectionism in young people.

Julie Bower, PhD, is a Research Fellow in the School of Education at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, a registered teacher and the chief trainer for the Mindfields Programs. Julie has over 30 years experience in the education sector, 22 of those in educational research and more recently, over the past 13 years in the development of the Mindfields® Programs, the CAT-RPM, and the Mindful Practice for Teachers Program.

Her research interests include social and emotional wellbeing of adolescents and teachers, cognitive behavioural interventions, and strengths-based strategies for youth at-risk.

Julie conducts applied research in Australian secondary schools to understand the social and emotional processes that keep students at school and engaged in learning. Her work is based in a positive youth development framework, focusing on the strengths of adolescents at risk and working in close partnership with schools to assist these students to reach their potential. She is interested in developing real-time measures of emotion in a classroom setting, assessment of both risk and protection in vulnerable youth; prevention and intervention approaches; social and emotional well-being in adolescence; evidence-based resources for adolescent development; school-wide approaches for social and emotional well-being of students and teachers.

The Mindfields Suite of Programs: Addressing the social emotional learning puzzle in schools

The Mindfields programs were developed by a team of researchers led by Professor Annemaree Carroll at the University of Queensland, to assist young people to develop the social and emotional skills for a meaningful life both at school and beyond. The ability to understand and regulate emotions in a social setting such as school is central to learning. In fact, emotions are now understood to be integral to thinking and behaviour, affecting attention, problem-solving, memory, motivation, creativity, and goal achievement. Social emotional development impacts educational attainment, and brain maturation in the adolescent years therefore explicit teaching of these skills can have a life-long impact.

A crucial link to teaching these skills effectively is teacher well-being. For teachers, caring for students requires the ability to manage emotions and relationships with others in a professional way on a daily basis.

In this presentation, I will outline our most recent work highlighting the process of researchers working meaningfully with schools to improve social and emotional well-being. Through the Mindfields Suite of Programs, social and emotional well-being strategies and skills were explicitly taught to Year 8 and Year 11 students. Important preparatory work was conducted with teachers to help them understand the science behind well-being and develop their own emotion regulation through the Mindful Practice for Teachers Program.

Donna is a writer, speaker, teacher trainer and secondary educator. She has expertise in student wellbeing, establishing effective school systems and positive strategies for youth suicide prevention.

In 2013 Donna was awarded the NSW Premier’s Anika Foundation Youth Depression Awareness Scholarship and examined strategies implemented globally for youth suicide prevention and she recognized the importance of proactively enhancing teacher confidence within the school context. Donna assisted in the planning of the Wollongong Diocesan Suicide Pre, Inter and Post-Vention Strategic Plan. Donna’s company Awaken Youth facilitates NESA Accredited 'Gatekeeper’ workshops for teachers as well as targeted suicide prevention training for parents and guardians of young people. Additionally, Donna is an accredited trainer with LivingWorks and delivers safeTALK suicide prevention training to senior students in secondary schools. In 2015 she presented at the Suicide Prevention Australia Conference on the topic 'Teachers: the greatest untapped resource in youth suicide prevention.' She is a member of the Macarthur Suicide Prevention Network committee and is employed as a Telephone Crisis Supporter for Lifeline. In 2017 Donna presented workshops nationally at the Positive Schools Conference titled: ‘Positive Strategies for the Prevention of Youth Suicide’. Donna is also the author of the young adult novel Awakening Sebastian, which communicates a strong positive and preventative message regarding youth suicide.

Child and Youth Suicide Prevention in the School Context

Abstract to come

Dr Shannon Morton is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with a special interest in treating young people who naturally exist outside the usual boxes, and prefer to colour outside the lines. She is the Clinical Director of the “The Kooky Kid Clinic”, a multidisciplinary clinic with a difference in Brisbane, where humour and holistic, expressive therapies are used to celebrate differences, reframe medical symptoms and sufferings, and challenge stigmatizing stereotypes head on. She has previously worked in a Prison Mental Health Service, and spent many years working in a low socio-economic area, with a large number of children with externalizing disorders in her practice.

She has special interests in working with young people with Tourette Syndrome and associated challenges, those suffering from self harm, or those with unconventional tendencies that push institutional boundaries. She has assisted in research data collection for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) treatment of severe Tourette Syndrome, and was one of the youngest speakers invited to present at the World Congress of Biological Psychiatry in Paris, on the topic of refractory Tourette Syndrome in Adolescents. She has also acted as a medical advisor for the SBS Documentary “The Silent Epidemic” on the science of self injury, having worked with world experts on mirror neurons at the La Sapienza University in Rome during her research project on emotional mirror neurons, attachment, and self harm. She currently runs “The Healing Circle”, a self harm recovery group for teens, and “Bubble and Squeak”, a Tourette Syndrome support group.

For those lucky enough to have seen Shannon speak in the past, you know that she is an entirely unique speaker and practitioner - you don't want to miss her latest presentation at the 2018 MHIS Conference. 

"Let's Get Kooky!", A Divergent Thinking MasterclassInvivo Exposure to Creative Approaches to Teaching and Learning to "robot-proof" the next generation, and make your classroom more fun and engaged, with resident oddball Dr Shannon Morton. This will be an experiential workshop where we will explore what divergent thinking means, and how we can encourage openness to new experience, preparedness to share new ideas without fears of failure, and nurture wonder, curiosity, grit, and resilience. I will be demonstrating divergent teaching methods to teach about divergent thinking! It will be provocative and highly interactive. Think brainstorming about brainstorming with the audience literally throwing ideas around with paper aeroplanes to build on each other's ideas about creative ways to keep creativity alive! I will bring props and run the show like an orchestra, trying to get the right "light and shade" of content, process, depth, and breadth, as an example of how to incorporate divergent thinking strategies within the constraints of the curriculum.. Basically, an hour of creative parallel processing about creativity, until we all feel like pretzels!!

Georgie Harman, CEO Beyondblue 

Ms Harman was appointed as the CEO of beyondblue in May 2014. She has significant and broad-ranging policy and service delivery experience in the community, public and private sectors in Australia and the United Kingdom.

From 2006-2012, Ms Harman worked at the Commonwealth Department of Health where she had national responsibility for Australian mental health, suicide prevention and substance misuse policy and programs, including those targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. She was one of the architects of the 2011 cross-portfolio National Mental Health Reform Budget package. At the same time, she was responsible for the early strategy and development of legislation to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products in Australia – a world first.

Ms Harman has also worked in the community sector and in private enterprise. She came to Australia in 1999 to be the inaugural Executive Director for the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation in Sydney – Australia's first and largest independent HIV/AIDS charity. She has also worked extensively overseas, particularly in non-government organisations in London.

The New National Mental Health Initiative
Building a better future: Supporting positive mental health in children and young people in educational settings

Research shows one in seven children in Australia has had a mental health disorder in the past 12 months and half all adult mental health conditions emerge before the age of 14.

This makes the prevention of childhood and adolescent mental health issues – and early, effective intervention when they do occur – a national priority. The National Mental Health Commission acknowledged this in 2014 when it identified schools as a key priority for the promotion of good mental health and wellbeing.

This led to a Commonwealth Government grant in June 2017 of $52.7 million over two years for beyondblue to design and develop a ground-breaking project to improve the mental health literacy and practices of Australian children.

In January this year the Commonwealth consolidated that commitment with up to $46.0 million of further funding to guarantee the program’s national rollout and uptake by early learning services, primary and secondary schools over four years.

The national education initiative is to be launched by beyondblue – in partnership with Early Childhood Australia and headspace for service delivery in September.

The vision of the national education initiative is that all Australian early learning services, primary and secondary schools become positive, inclusive and resilient communities within which everyone – children and adolescents, teachers and principals, staff and parents – has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

It will take the very best from five existing programs KidsMatter Early Childhood, KidsMatter Primary, MindMatters, headspace School Support and Response Ability –and evolve into a community warehouse where educators can access the latest evidence-based information and research, enrol in professional development units, seek on-line advice or face-to-face support and receive a rapid response in the event of a critical incident. More than ever parents and carers will be encouraged to become part of their children’s learning communities by engaging with the national education initiative and apply the knowledge acquired in their own lives.

Our goal is that every Australian child – from the moment they enter the education system to the day they leave – has the opportunity to achieve their best possible mental health.

Alex Shain is the General Manager of Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning.

He trained as a primary school teacher and has taught in many different school settings, beginning his career in far western NSW and most recently teaching in inner city Sydney. In 2012, Alex joined Reconciliation Australia to design Narragunnawali and he reckons it’s the best teaching job in the country.

Alex firmly believes that without those who have come before, we wouldn’t be able to have the conversations we are having today. The work of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians has laid the foundation for the next generation to move forward together.

Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools
Narragunnawali is designed to support all schools and early learning services in Australia to develop environments that foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.

Two key dimensions of reconciliation are race relations and historical acceptance. Racial discrimination and the ongoing impacts of intergenerational trauma are key drivers of poor mental health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Building strengths-based relationships based on mutual respect and trust, and engaging young people in truth telling about our history, can play a powerful role in reconciliation and healing processes. Narragunnawali aims to create a community of positive and engaged schools and early learning services that are committed to promoting reconciliation between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Xris Reardon is the current LGBTI Schools Inclusion Officer at WIO. Xris works includes primary, secondary, and colleges contexts. Prior to this role Xris was working at the Safe Schools Project Officer (also across the state of Tassie). Xris has a background in Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Community Cultural Development and is also a Community Theatre Practitioner. Their pronouns are they/them.

Affirmation Plans - on the same page
At Working It Out (Tasmania’s gender, sexuality, and intersex status support and education service) we have developed Affirmation Plans involving the student and their family, the school leadership team, and relevant teachers. Affirmation plans aim at creating an understanding that parties agree too in order to to support and ensure the cultural safety of individual students who are socially transitioning in our schools.

In the context of our work in primary, high schools and colleges in Tasmania the Affirmation Plan template is both a dialogical tool and an assurance mechanism to safeguard students, and the school community, building a knowledge base for all ‘stakeholders’. Affirmation plans focus on expressed needs of an individual student and their family. This work starts with the student and a member of the support staff, or a parent and member of the support staff.

The whole of school approach includes Professional Learning for staff and access to Community education, and the establishment of Diversity Groups for students. These critical steps support everyone to access information, a feeling confident to ensure that diversity of gender, sexuality and bodily status is valued and visible and in doing so we are addressing bullying and we can celebrate difference.

Dr Michelle Tye, Black Dog Institute 
Dr Michelle Tye is currently a NHMRC Early Career Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, where she is the research co-director of a large-scale integrated, multilevel suicide prevention trial known as LifeSpan. She is also leading an innovative program of research in early mental health and suicide prevention, which aims to establish an upstream approach to mental health and suicide prevention by implementing evidence-based initiatives in primary schools, and using emerging epidemiological techniques (i.e., geospatial analysis, peer network analysis) for the early detection of emerging suicide risk. Prior to this, she spent 10 years leading epidemiological research in the field of substance use and dependence at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, to advance our understanding of the disease burden associated with addiction. Her key research interests include applied suicide prevention, early childhood mental health and wellbeing, and addiction. She is particularly interested in developmental psychopathology and offsetting the mental health disease burden before it becomes established.

Lyndal Halliday has extensive experience in research and project management across a range of fields. She currently co-leads the implementation of YAM, an evidence-based schools suicide prevention program to over 13,000 students enrolled in public, independent, and Catholic high schools in NSW as part of the LifeSpan systems approach to suicide prevention. She also leads the expansion of YAM to schools in Commonwealth suicide prevention sites, as well as developing tools and consultation processes for the adaptation of the LifeSpan framework for priority populations.

Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM)  
Schools are bombarded with programs aimed at increasing student wellbeing and mental health outcomes, however it can be difficult to decipher whether a program is evidence based or informed, and whether it is even safe for students. This presentation explores the evidence base for suicide prevention programs in schools and closely examines the implementation of the Youth Aware or Mental Health (YAM) program as part of the LifeSpan Systems Approach research trials in NSW, highlighting key barriers and successes to date. It will also explore the importance of implementation science processes in translating evidence in to practice. 

Luke Barry-Donnellan completed a Bachelor of Exercise Science in 2012 and a Graduate Diploma of Education in 2014 at the Australian Catholic University (ACU). He is currently employed as a Personal Development/Health/ Physical Education teacher at Parramatta Marist High School. Luke has taken on various coaching and leadership roles in school sporting teams for many years and has given his time to holiday camps for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In his two years of teaching, Luke has developed a keen interest in the area of mental health and wellbeing of teenage boys.

Recently Luke launched a project for his Year 9 students entitled 'Man Up' (based on Gus Worland's award winning 3 part documentary series of the same title). Being an advocate for project based learning, he used this innovative pedagogy as a vehicle to create a more authentic and relatable experience for his students. Going into 2018 and beyond, he hopes that with greater awareness and an ever growing support network, we can change the perceptions on masculinity and decrease the alarming suicide rates of young men.

Man Up – A School Based Mental Health Initiative

The NSW Personal Development/ Health/Physical Education (PDHPE) curriculum covers content on mental health awareness in stage 5. This presentation aims to highlight the innovative ways in which teachers can deliver this mental health content in a relevant and contextual way for their students.

At Parramatta Marist High School, teachers are encouraged to provide authentic learning experiences as per the guidelines of Project Based Learning (PBL) which has been implemented into the school since 2008. In 2017, the school ran a PDHPE project for year 9 students entitled "Man Up" (based on Gus Worland's 2016, 3 part documentary series of the same name). While the aim of this project was to deliver the mental health content from the syllabus, students were encouraged to communicate more openly with their peers and begin to challenge the notion of being "masculine" in an all boy high school setting. This project incorporated project based learning opportunities, "Tomorrow Man" masculinity workshops and a school visit from Gus Worland to help reiterate the purpose of the project to the students.

During the presentation, participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with myself and other educators on mental health awareness initiatives they may wish to implement into their programs.

Dr Danielle Einstein is an Honorary Associate with Macquarie University and the University of Sydney. Danielle has collaborated on the development of four secondary school prevention programs (Keep Composed, Chilled@School, The Insights program, and the Emotional Intelligence in Schools program), two internet treatment programs (ChilledPlus for comorbid anxiety and depression, and the Climate Social Phobia program), and developed a therapist-led treatment for superstition-dominated OCD. Danielle's research program focuses on changing community responses to both uncertainty and perfectionism. Danielle leads secondary school programs that promote balanced use of phones and social media, healthy body image, and the development of self-compassion. Danielle’s research is at the forefront of psychological thinking around management of uncertainty. She works closely with secondary school teachers and university academics across Australia to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of social and emotional learning programs.

What does it take to develop evidence-based wellbeing programs for secondary schools?

There are a multitude of possible factors to target when delivering social and emotional learning programs within secondary schools. With the World Health Organisation increasingly concerned about levels of anxiety and depression, our community needs to consider how to address underlying issues that contribute to elevated symptoms whilst maintaining student engagement. This presentation will i) explore factors to prioritise; ii) provide an overview of issues that arise in the implementation of teacher led programs and iii) examine the question of ‘what works in practice’.

Vicki Condon is committed to impacting adolescent health and wellbeing in Australia through her role as Founder and CEO of Raise Foundation. After working in corporate HR for ten years, Vicki has spent the last nine years counselling and mentoring young people, and developing best practice youth mentoring programs to support them. Since its inception in November 2008, Raise Foundation has provided professional TAFE accredited mentors for over 3,400 young Australians who have improved resilience, increased confidence, identified how to set and achieve goals, increased engagement in education and improved young people’s ability to seek and ask trusted adults for help. In 2018, Raise is running 80 in-school mentoring programs for more than 1,100 young people across 5 states. Raise has been a Finalist in the Telstra Business Award, the Pride of Australia Awards and the National Volunteer Awards, and has won several National Volunteer Awards and Business Achiever Awards for Community Service and Not-for-Profit Management. 

Sandra Jelley is a registered psychologist and teacher who has worked in the education sector for over thirty years, both domestically and internationally. She spent fifteen years as an educator in Australia and Singapore, including more than a decade in key leadership positions involving extensive curriculum development, procedural reviews, promotion and implementation of large-scale school change, and leading staff teams.

Sandra then pursued a career path as a school psychologist, completing post-graduate studies in Psychology with first class honours, and gaining registration as a Psychologist with AHPRA. She has been a school counsellor/psychologist, as part of the Wellbeing Team of Sacred Heart College, for the past 14 years, where she has been an integral part of driving wellbeing policy and procedures, presenting regularly to staff, students and parents on a range of mental health issues and developing a number of curriculum programs to support student wellbeing. Sandra also supervises other school counsellors.

In 2010 Sandra joined Propsych as a Senior Consultant and has been instrumental in developing relevant, empirically based, topical mental health workshops, programs and conferences that are responsive to school needs and specific to school staff. Sandra features prominently as the dynamic MC at Propsych’s flagship conferences, returning once again for the 2018 Mental Health in Schools Conference.