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Young people today are faced with a number of pressures in daily life, which can potentially negatively impact on mental health and wellbeing. Factors including studying, family life, working, social media and social life all impact upon an individual if they don’t have the skills and techniques to handle pressures in a positive way. Developing such skills will not only make tough times easier to handle but will also help develop self-awareness and build resilience and self-confidence.

This project aimed to deliver the Hopefull Institute’s Hope Express and the Addiction seminar to students throughout Latrobe Valley in August 2019.

Sessions were held at Kurnai College, Lavalla College, St Pauls College, the FLO School and two sessions held for students/parents at non-participating schools with over 500 people in attendance during the series.

Students participated in the Hope Express seminar which is a social and emotional wellbeing program that highlights key concepts such as grit, emotional intelligence, authentic strengths, optimism, empathy, courage, and hope.

The Addiction seminar educated students on the four psychological effects of addiction: experimentation, misuse, fixation and dependency. Students were shown the emotional states associated with each stage and the behaviour characteristics that accompany them. This gave students a realistic and ‘everyday’ understanding on how easily addiction can progress from one stage to the next.

The 2019 seminars received positive feedback during the evaluation. There were a total of 176 respondents to the evaluation survey. Of the respondents 140 were students, 23 were parents, four were teachers and nine were unspecified. Participants were from a range of primary and secondary school as well as other health organisations within Latrobe.

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