Kingston Resilience Initiative
The Kingston Resilience Initiative is a partnership between Kingston Council Youth Services, Resilient Youth and more than 20 local primary and secondary schools. It uses an innovative survey to track the factors that help build resilience in young people.
The survey collects, collates and analyses self-reported strengths of Australian young people in terms of asset levels, such as the incidence of depressive disorders and hopefulness and the relationship of these factors to resilience. The survey measures resilience and is capable of informing practice and policy by providing strategic information on the psychological resources that promote positive development during the adolescent years.
The survey comprises three scientifically validated, reliable and internally accepted measures, including Developmental Assets Profile (DAP), which measures youth wellbeing. General Health Questionnaire (GHQ12) which measure mental health and the Children’s Hope Scale (CHS) which measures children’s level of hope.
In Australia there is an increasing interest in adolescent health and development, however, currently there is very few psychometrically robust measures of resilience relevant to adolescents aged 11 – 18 years. However Andrew Fuller and his colleagues at the Resilient Youth have developed such a survey and we would like to promote and encourage all schools within Kingston LGA to participate. The survey is credible and provides a richness of knowledge which will ultimately assist and aid not only the students and consequently their academic achievements, but the overall wellbeing of the school and the student community. The survey aims to:
- Provide an understanding and insight into how young people at Kingston schools are feeling;
- Provide the opportunity to address and increase student wellbeing, resulting in greater sense of self, connectedness and belonging;
- If young people feel good about themselves and their environment they are likely to perform well, hence increasing attendance and academic participation and a variety of other positive aspects;
- Provide evidence based data that will allow greater targeted support to students and all young people who chose to participate; and
- Provide an early preventative opportunity to address issues as they arise.
What happened in 2016?
22 of our local primary, secondary and alternative schools participated in the annual Youth Resilience survey comprising of over 5000 individual surveys being rolled out. Some of municipal data highlighted the following strengths and opportunities when supporting young people:
- 91% of young people surveyed value diversity in our schools and community;
- 83% of the young people surveyed reported feeling safe in our community;
- 84% of students reporting that they are eager to learn;
- 35% of our young people serving others in the community, this is on par with the National average;
- 34% of our young people are losing sleep through worry;
- Decreasing resilience levels once young people transition into Year 7;
- Young people reporting that they are trustworthy (on average 20-30% greater than the National average across all year levels);
- Young people’s use of devices at night concerning especially for young people Year 7 and older. Having said this Kingston shows a slightly healthier phone use then the National average;
- Decreased links to sporting clubs, community groups and other activities in older adolescents. For example 71% of young people stating they are keeping physically fit.
This data provides a richness into understanding the needs, strengths and opportunities when supporting young people both in a school environment and the wider community.
Some ideas and Strategies that can be implemented:
- Talk positively about forthcoming events and highlight positive things happening in the school, community and rest of the world
- Encouraging participation in leisure and recreation activities that promote a healthy mind and body
- Strengthening positive relationships with adults, family, school and community
- Supporting empowerment through youth-led projects
- Focusing on maintaining respectful relationships with peers
- Developing communication skills and empathy to help create, maintain and repair friendships
- Supporting extra-curricular activities, volunteering and community service to foster connection to community
- Developing techniques for managing stress and worry
If you require additional information, contact Youth Services on 1300 369 436 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org