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New digital wellbeing platform will aid parents facing youth mental health problems

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SchoolTV, an award-winning digital content platform designed to deliver mental health information to parents via schools, is available now. Fronted by leading child and adolescent psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, the platform delivers multi-media based resources on how parents can prevent and manage some of the most urgent mental health issues facing young Australians.  

SchoolTV is available to all schools, both primary and secondary, for an annual subscription of just $2340 - a price point set to make it as accessible as possible, and to trigger widescale adoption.

“Even in the last three to five years, the goal posts have completely shifted for parents about how to deal with the mental health epidemic that is the scourge of our children. Mission Australia recently reported that four in 10  students are concerned about coping with stress, body image, school or study problems. Anxiety levels have increased significantly in the last decade with suicide now the largest killer of Australian youth. One in four secondary students now have a mental health condition, and one in seven primary school students. We can’t leave it to our schools to deal with this on their own. Parents must equip themselves with the skills, knowledge and strategies to halt the relentless march of these shocking statistics,” said Dr Carr-Gregg.

In development for over two years, SchoolTV now has over 200 schools currently subscribed in both the primary and secondary sectors. Topics covered are the result of research with schools, wellbeing officers, counsellors and parent focus groups and incorporates landmark research from the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

SchoolTV was recently awarded a 2017 Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) iAward for the category of Community Services Market in the Education Sector.  

The SchoolTV platform publishes primarily video-based editions 10 times a year from February to November, bringing Australia’s leading experts together in a single aggregated resource on a single topic.  SchoolTV can be accessed online and via mobile devices. Once a school has paid the annual subscription, parents have unlimited access to the information and are alerted when new editions are available.    

The editions are themed around single subjects ranging from anxiety, depression and suicide; to drug and alcohol use and sleeping and eating disorders. They include expert briefings, Q&As, fact sheets, articles, quizzes and many other resources such as recommended apps and websites.

Dr Carr-Gregg said, “If I could tell parents five things they should be on the lookout for, they would be: 

1) Don’t think it will never happen to you. Statistically speaking, there is a strong chance it will, or to a child you know.

2) Be open in discussing the issues.

3) Learn what the signs are for anxiety and depression. A young person can present as operating normally despite being affected.

4) Take any sign of a mental health issue as 100% serious, and if in doubt, seek expert help.

5) It is just as important that parents of primary-aged school children learn to navigate these new challenges and prevent conditions before they become more entrenched.

“If there is one thing parents should learn today, it is how to spot the signs of anxiety and depression, because children and young people can often present as operating normally, despite being in distress. Also, it can be hard to distinguish these signs from ‘typical’ teenage behaviour. 

"The signs of anxiety and depressions include two to three weeks of experiencing feelings of unhappiness, moodiness, emptiness or numbness, irritability, loss of interest and pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, loss of appetite and weight, difficulty sleeping, tiredness, lack of energy and motivation. Alternatively, feeling worried or tense, having difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions, feeling bad, worthless or guilty and generally being self-critical and self-blaming are also important to note,” said Dr Carr-Gregg.

The subject of each SchoolTV edition is introduced by Dr Carr-Gregg and includes contributions from other leading academics and specialists including: Prof Ian Hickie from the Brain and Mind Centre, Prof Pat McGorry from Orygen, Dr Elizabeth Scott from Headspace, Prof Jane Burns from Young and Well CRC, Susan McLean from Cyber Safety Solutions and Lesley Podesta from the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.


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