Why a baby’s mental health really matters

By Dr Nicole Milburn, Infant Mental Health Consultant & Jen Willis, Communications Consultant, Berry Street – Take Two 

As a community we often discuss the poor mental health of adults and young people, but rarely do we really look at the mental health of babies. This is unfortunate because it is the relationships and environment a baby experiences during infancy that often set the conditions for that baby’s mental health during later adolescence and adulthood.

What is mental health for a baby?
There are three key factors that define early mental health and wellbeing. Continue reading “Why a baby’s mental health really matters”

How line, colour and shape can help a young person in crisis

By Jen Willis, Communications Consultant, Take Two – Berry Street.

“I really can’t draw. And I think that helps, because they can laugh at me.”

Not what you’d expect to hear from an art therapist.

Danni is a Take Two specialist working with very traumatised young people in crisis. She uses line, colour and shape to support her clinical work with young people who are admitted to Secure Welfare.

Continue reading “How line, colour and shape can help a young person in crisis”

Parents: 24/7 CEOs of our kids’ lives

Parenting today is a complicated business. A new book gives advice on how to build on our kids’ strengths rather than trying to improve their weaknesses.

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These days I run strength-based workshops for schools, workplaces, and parents around the world. I’ve found that no matter what country, continent, or culture they’re from, two things unite all parents: the desire to help their children flourish and a sense of inadequacy for this task.

Parenting can feel overwhelming. We’re the CEOs of our children’s lives, responsible for all the different departments: cognitive, physical, social, emotional, moral, sexual, spiritual, cultural, and educational. The buck starts and stops with us. Continue reading “Parents: 24/7 CEOs of our kids’ lives”

How resilience can break the link between a ‘bad’ childhood and the youth justice system

Kathryn Daley, RMIT University and Stuart Thomas, RMIT University

Most young people in the youth justice system have been found to come from “troubled” backgrounds. However, many people with similar backgrounds don’t ever end up in youth justice services. The Conversation

Knowing why people with troubled childhoods may be more likely to engage in criminal activity is necessary to inform the development of effective prevention and early intervention initiatives. Continue reading “How resilience can break the link between a ‘bad’ childhood and the youth justice system”

Childhood Conversations Pilot Program – Session 3

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Continuing our focus on 21st century childhood…

We are now turning our reflections to Health & Wellbeing in childhood. In particular, we will be focusing on how children eat and play in the 21st century and how this has changed over the years.

When we looked back at our own childhood’s, people talked about how they remember eating mainly meat & three vegetables as a standard. The food was mostly homemade, and meals were mostly made with fresh food.

There are significant changes too, in terms of how children played and interacted, both alone and with each other.

People have talked to us about how play was unstructured and there was lots more ‘free time’. Children were generally given the freedom to roam and play with their mates in the neighbourhood and there was a sense of adventure…In many ways, children occupied themselves. 

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How is the food children eat, and the way they play, different in the 21st century?

Share your thoughts!

 

Post written by: Julie Noonan, School Engagement Co-ordinator, Berry Street Childhood Institute

Childhood Conversations

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Is childhood today more complicated than ever before?

  • Are children losing the joyful, unselfconscious, carefree experience of childhood?
  • Do children spend too much time on technology?
  • Do you think it is worth talking about?

Current Australian research tells us that on many important indicators the health and wellbeing of today’s children is not on the rise, but on the decline. Increasing numbers of early 21st century children are known to have complex diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and eating disorders. In particular, psychological problems such as learning disorders, depression and anxiety appear to be increasing.

We know that a good childhood is the foundation for a healthy society and that whilst parents have the primary responsibility to provide their children with a good childhood, they cannot do this alone.

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The ‘Childhood Conversations’ Pilot Program seeks to engage parents of Victorian children in conversation about 21st century childhoods, in order to increase their understanding and awareness of what sustains a good childhood; and empower them to find solutions and advocate for change.

Through three x 2 hour sessions, parents will take a reflective journey through the context in which they experienced childhood and talk about the issues facing childhood in the 21st century.

We hope these conversations will inform a program model that may later be adopted by school communities across Australia.

It will be a fascinating journey and we look forward to sharing our progress with you.

Post written by: Julie Noonan, School Engagement Co-ordinator, Berry Street Childhood Institute

Creswick Fellowship Tour – Adventure Therapy

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Think about a world where you never feel safe or secure.  A world full of fear and distrust. This is the life of the traumatised child.

Imagine a situation whereby the traumatised child can experience success and a sense of accomplishment in the context of relationships that demonstrate “in the moment” trust. Adventure based therapy like kayaking, ropes courses, wilderness adventure programs and the like can afford traumatised young people this opportunity.

The magic in adventure based therapy is in weaving together into one activity the following developmental and healing opportunities. Participants are faced with activities that challenge and extend them at a skill level, but are absolutely achievable.  What’s more many of these activities involve fear, risk taking and induce anxiety, but are provided in a way that they can be scaffolded for success and achievement.

I observed a kayaking adventure therapy session with a group of adolescent boys at Cal Farley’s. These young men were preparing for an open water kayaking trip the following week and were practicing the skills of rescue post capsizing.

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Fascinating in this observation was watching these young men anxiously anticipate the notion of flipping their kayak and deliberately capsizing themselves. Staff engaged in a lot of cognitive discussion based reassurance, what was awesome was that this was done as they kayaked up and down the length of the pond, back and forth, repetitively paddling and talking.

This allowed for somatosensory regulation of anxiety, or quietening down of the dysregulation caused by the anxiety, so that the discussion based reassurance and coaching could be heard and internalised by the young men…Read more about Adventure Therapy here, at Chelle Taylor’s blog My Creswick Fellowship Tour

Edited version of a post written by: Michelle (Chelle) Taylor, Clinical Psychologist and NMT Consultant, Take Two Program