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Type: Thesis
Title: Resilience in secondary schools: a review of available interventions aimed at improving student mental health
Author: Sierp, Ingrid
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: Statistics suggest that mental illness now affects 5-10% of young people from as early as age six. The exact reasons for the increased prevalence of mental illness are unknown, however, it is thought to be linked to a decrease in the resilience levels of young people, where they do not possess the knowledge or skills needed to overcome the everyday stressors that are associated with adolescence. In light of this, there has been an increased focus on designing and implementing programs to develop resilience and positive mental health in young people. Schools are an ideal setting for the implementation of such programs as young people spend extended periods of their time there. Teachers are able to build positive relationships with their students and act as role models of resilient behaviour. Given that the state of student mental health is unique to every school environment, it is difficult for teachers and school leaders to determine which program would be most suited to their needs. All resilience-building programs share common aims, however, they differ in several areas including targeted demographic, timeframe, delivery method and specific outcomes. Schools cannot know which program will be the best fit for their students without directly implementing each one. The aims of this study were to determine which resilience-building/wellbeing programs are available to secondary schools in Australia, and in what setting would each of these programs provide the greatest improvement to the mental health of secondary school students? It examined the resilience-building/wellbeing programs MindMatters, the Gatehouse Project, the beyondblue Secondary Schools Program, SenseAbility and the Penn Resiliency Program. The programs were evaluated using a framework of questions designed to provide schools with the most relevant information. The information gathered related to target demographic, program length, program content, program delivery, and program outcomes. It was found that some programs, like MindMatters and the Gatehouse Project, are simply a guiding framework and require a large amount of staff professional development before the content is able to be delivered to the students. Other interventions, like the beyondblue Secondary Schools Program and SenseAbiltiy, provide schools with a complete set of resources and require no formal staff training, thus can be implemented immediately. Some programs, like the Gatehouse Project and the beyondblue Secondary Schools Program, are targeted at a selected age-range, whereas others are suitable for all ages. Some programs, like SenseAbility, have a poor research base. In some instances there have been no randomised, controlled trials to evaluate the efficacy of the programs, despite widespread implementation. The ability of each program to develop student wellbeing is discussed within this report, alongside the management implications for schools. When determining the best practice for the development of student mental health and wellbeing, schools need to understand the motivation and behaviour of their students. Evidence-based models are available to assist schools in this understanding, and are discussed here. Numerous resilience/wellbeing programs exist, however, they are not all appropriate for an Australian school setting, nor for implementation in a secondary school. This study enables teachers and school leaders to make informed decisions regarding the suitability of different resilience/wellbeing programs to develop the mental health of their students.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (MTeach) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2018
Description: This item is only available electronically.
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available, or you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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