It is known that young people who live in environments with poverty, low levels of support, violence or unstable conditions may be more at risk of depression than other children and adolescents. Protective factors that can reduce the risk that a young person will develop depression include the presence of a supportive adult, good interpersonal relationships, a strong sense of self, family cohesion and social support.
The skills people learn in positive psychology programs can help build supportive relationships and a strong sense of self for those who aren’t able to access these in their family or home environment.
With funding support from the Wyatt Trust, the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation, and the Department of Premier and Cabinet , the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre is implementing a comprehensive three year program that will measure, build and embed wellbeing and resilience amongst a cohort of 850 disadvantaged young people from across Adelaide.
The project will commence with a baseline measurement of wellbeing across all participants. The second phase involves the transfer of validated skills and strategies that build wellbeing and resilience.
Using a train the trainer model, youth workers and mentors from partner agencies will undertake Wellbeing and Resilience training and these skills will then be taught to groups of young people.
Ongoing mentoring will assist young people to integrate these skills through the provision of one-on-one support, group projects and targeted interventions to build their resilience and wellbeing.
Taking a structured and systematic approach to measuring and building wellbeing amongst young people in disadvantaged communities has the potential to lead to improve mental health outcomes and enable more active participation in the community, increased self confidence and increased resilience to stressful life events.
Paul Madden of The Wyatt Trust discusses why they have invested in the Resilient Futures Project.