Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental Health is a massive part of anyone’s life, but when you move into a workplace depending on the occupation, it can become more fragile. Our mental health is just as important as physical health, as it affects us the same amount. One of the harshest bits about mental health is that unlike physical health, it is easy to conceal. Hiding it is the silent killer. As we develop in physical ways, we also develop cognitively.  

Mental health issues in the workplace have become talked about so much more in the past couple of years compared to the 50s or 60s for example. Fixing mental health issues in the workplace are not impossible, but they cannot be fixed quickly nor completely. Making mental health in the workplace requires action, rather than just discussion. As a group we have devised a few plans to be able to make the topic of mental health not a taboo subject and something to run from, rather a topic that can be discussed in a work community without worrying about judgement.

In this site the topic of mental disorders and suicide will be mentioned but will be outlined, so please, be aware of that.

The Types of Mental Issues people face

There are many different types of illnesses that peoples can get, but the most common ones include:

– Depression

– Anxiety

– Suicidal thoughts/actions

There are many different services that you are able to contact if you are having difficulties dealing with any of these, such as:

– Psychologists & psychiatrists

– Beyond Blue 

– MensLine Australia 

– Open Arms

– Lifeline

– Suicide Call Back Service

healthdirect-mental-health-services-infographic-aa035a

What Needs to be Changed?

There needs to be a wider range of acceptance in the workplace for mental issues. The topic of mental wellbeing needs to be brought up more frequently and discussed more often to promote conversations regarding peoples own mental health. Workplaces (depending on the occupation) are stressful places, which develops into a playground for mental issues to thrive. One of the biggest concerns is suicide. Between 2011-13 there were 781 workplace related suicides in the US alone. This is an alarming figure because these suicides made up for 5% of the total workplace fatalities (13,906) in that period of time. The age group with the highest rate of suicides is the 45-54 years group (Text 2). According to Heads Up created by Beyond Blue, there are 9 key attributes of a mentally healthy workplace:

  1. Prioritising mental health
  2. Trusting, fair and respectful culture
  3. Open and honest leadership
  4. Good job design
  5. Workload management
  6. Employee development
  7. Inclusion and influence
  8. Work/Life balance
  9. Mental health support

Bullying in the workplace often gets overlooked as it is commonly done by someone who holds an authoritative position. In a 2007 report conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 37% of employees have been bullied and 72% of those employees stated that they were bullied by people of higher ranks (Text 1).

Text 1
Text 2

A Few Facts

  • One in five Australian employees report that they have taken time off work due to feeling mentally unwell in the past 12 months. 
  • 91% believe mental health in the important (88% believe physical safety is important). 
  • Despite this, only 52% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy compared to 76% for physical safety. 
  • Every second working Australian (56%) believes that their most senior leader values mental health. 
  • One in five Australians (21%) have taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy. 
  • 81% of organisational leaders indicate their workplace has one or more policies, procedures or practices to support mental health, but many employees (35%) don’t know these resources exist or don’t have access to them. 
  • While creating a mentally healthy workplace is everyone’s responsibility, mental health is a leadership issue, and change must start at the top. Business owners and organisational leaders play a critical role in driving policies and practices that promote mental health in the workplace. They have the capacity to positively influence workplace culture, management practices and the experience of employees. 
  • The research found that while nine in ten Australian employees (91%) agree that is it important to work in a mentally healthy environment, only 52% of employees agree their workplace is mentally healthy 
  • 60% of employees have never discussed their mental health at work. … health conditions each year, mental health remains a taboo subject. 
  • A common reason why mental health can be a taboo subject is a fear of appearing weak and vulnerable in front of others. Although this can be seen in both sexes, it is especially apparent among men – as they are less likely to talk about their mental health.

Why is Mental Wellbeing only becoming relevant in the workplace now?

  • Mental health is becoming an increasingly important topic in the workplace.   
  • In Australia, mental health issues are one of the main health-related reasons for reduced work performance.  
  • There is increasing evidence that workplaces can play an important and active role in maintaining the mental health and well-being of their workers. 
  • Every workplace has a legal and ethical responsibility to provide a safe and fair workplace, and support the mental wellbeing of their workers.   
  • well-designed workplace can support individual mental health and wellbeing, leading to reduced absenteeism and presenteeism (i.e. when someone is at work but their health is impacting on their performance), increased employee engagement and improved productivity. 

Why do we need to fix this?

Mental health is a universal issue which needs to be solved. However, we don’t really associate mental health with workplaces. It is only now that it has been started to bring aware to many people. We need to solve this because it is a growing and ongoing issue many people are facing in today’s world and it has many negative effects on humans. Anxiety and depression rates are rising rapidly and from our research work environments have a vital role in leading to these mental illnesses.

What is causing the problem?

There are no designated reasons for the problems we are faced with but there are multiple causes contributing to negative mental health in the workplace that have been proven by many reports. Stress is a major factor, workplaces tend to put a lot of pressure on their employees to get tasks done on time, conflicts between collogues, working in groups and many more. This can lead to anxiety and depression which can cause many negative effects on the person.  

What is already being done?

  • Companies have tried to provide education about mental health and encouraged open discussions 
  • Providing employees with the ability to interact with respect and consideration 
  • Offer an environment where employees have regular two-way feedback and are encouraged, acknowledged and rewarded 
  • Ensure that managers and staff are responsive to employees’ mental health conditions, regardless of cause and that adjustments to work and counselling support are available. 
  • Employ effective leadership to give employees a sense of shared purpose in the goals of the organization. 
  • Don’t just say you support mental health. Model it so that your team members feel they can prioritize self-care and set boundaries.
What strategies are other countries using?
  • Despite decades of disagreement among mental health practitioners and researchers in the Western world pertaining to the causation, classification and treatment of mental disorders there is an ongoing push to implement western mental health models in developing countries. Little information exists on the adaptability of western mental health models in developing countries

What are some basic things that can get the ball rolling?

Healthy eating, getting plenty of sleep, and regular physical activity are all important to good mental health. Learning skills which help deal with stress, feeling down, relationships or the symptoms of the illness, are also ways in which someone with a mental illness can look after themselves.

Some ideas we have come up with:

  • Creating a safe space for people to talk

Be vulnerable to your colleagues, build an emotional connection to them, be inclusive, let others talk and listen to them, be open to listening, perform random acts of kindness, make yourself welcoming 

  • All companies to put more effort into making Mental Wellbeing week 

Have daily activities like we do at school during lunch breaks for example to bring awareness to issues such as depression and anxiety  

  • Providing mental wellbeing dogs 

All workplaces have a dog or someone volunteers to bring their dogs in on a roster for the workplace and people can have a break and play with it or take it for walks  

  • Celebrating R U OK day 

Have a list of activities such as wear yellow to work, have a shared group lunch and talk about feelings and emotions with your colleagues and open up to each other.  

  • Bringing in speakers to talk about mental wellbeing and educate others  

We will hire out some people who have had personal experiences with mental health in the workplace and they can share their experiences with the workplaces and provide ways to support  

  • Providing psychologists

We will hire out some people who have had personal experiences with mental health in the workplace and they can share their experiences with the workplaces and provide ways to support  There can be a specific psychologist for certain workplaces depending on the occupation that specialize in a certain area .

  • Meditation breaks 

Have 5-minute break every 1-2 hours depending on what the people want and do some meditation.

  • The group (work) provides a fun get-together and have a mental wellbeing day 

Once a month have a day designated for wellbeing and bettering the mental health in the workplace. Go out somewhere and do team building games with your work to create a strong bond between colleagues.  

  • When managers get promoted/join the company, they have to go through a course to be equipped to deal with their employee’s mental issues to a degree, and know when to advise them to see a specialist 

There is a program for bosses and managers to learn how to deal with issues such as anxiety and depression in the workplace and how to work with people experiencing that  

Starting Education in Childhood

At Iona, we have the access to psychologists and adults to talk to 24/7. We also have access to our schools Mental Wellbeing dog, Leroy. Girls are able to walk Leroy around the school at lunch and recess with Leroy and play with him. Even though Ms Chapman (one of our school psychologists) thought that bringing Leroy in would just be fun for the girls, there are many benefits that our little furry friends have, such as:

  • They calm people down 
  • They need exercise which is important for a healthy mind.
  • They normalise heart and blood pressure.

And much more…

Services to rural areas

Why this is a problem+basic facts:

  • People with disability need appropriate access to services wherever they live, including in rural and remote areas.
  • People living in rural and remote Australia don’t have the same opportunities to access services as people living in big cities. There simply isn’t the population base to support the range of specialist services that some people need to access.
  • Around 7 million people—about 29% of the population—live in rural and remote areas. These Australians face challenges due to their geographic isolation, and they often have poorer health and welfare outcomes than people living in major cities.
  • Almost 700,000 women and girls with a disability live in rural and remote Australia
  • Disability tends to be more common in rural and remote areas than in urban areas. People with disability living outside major cities are significantly less likely to access disability support services than those living within major cities
  • People living in small rural and remote communities of Australia face a significant health disadvantage. Generally, mortality and illness levels increase with distance from major cities
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represent 16% and 45% of all people living in remote and very remote areas

Hence, we need to develop service-delivery models that give families in rural and remote areas access to disability services without forcing those people to compromise or to go without assistance.

Difficulties in solving the problem:

Some of the implications for delivering services to remote ares include: 

  • low population density, which can provide a number of challenges to service delivery, making it more expensive than in cities and larger towns 

  • difficulties in attracting and retaining a professional skilled workforce 

  • distance from key infrastructure, such as hospitals 

  • often a lack of physical infrastructure or poor-quality infrastructure e.g. roads, suitable buildings 

  • harsh climatic conditions and inaccessibility due to weather events for extended periods of time. 

Not-for-profit organisation that deliver services to the disabled:

Senses Australia: Services can be accessed in:

  • Perth Metro
  • Northam
  • Geraldton
  • Bunbury
  • Busselton
  • Margaret River
  • Albany

This non-for-profit organisation utilises telehealth/telepractice as their primary mode of delivery service, Their appointments cost the same as the usual service minus the travel costs.

Possible Solutions:

Telepractice: a therapy service that is delivered partially or completely through remote telecommunication. This may consist of elements including  Skype, video sharing, instant messaging, email, and telephone. This eliminates travel time, and can increase choice in service providers outside the local area. For example, In 2010 Boisvert  found promising results in assessing and treating autism spectrum disorder through telepractice.

  • “And the whole teletherapy thing has been brilliant. It’s just enabled us to access something that we couldn’t, that I would go on a waiting list for weeks.”- mother of a child with a speech disability.
  • Hence, not-for-profit organisations can get clinicians/therapists to set up telecommunication programs to deliver services to disabled people in regional areas.

Allied Health Assistants (AHAs): 

  • AHAs are qualified individuals who work under the supervision of health professionals. They use  fundamental medical knowledge to work with patients who may be injured, ill or disabled. Essentially,  local therapy assistants can be trained to implement programs designed by clinicians who may work hours away. The combination of an Allied Health Assistant and clinician brings expertise in the local community, as well as providing a more regular and timely service to individuals, since the clinician doesn’t need to be physically present at all times. 
  •  
  • Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) Practitioners
  • FIFO allied health practitioners who specialise in disability have the potential to empower rural and remote communities, and build capacity amongst generalist allied health practitioners, educators and allied health assistants
  • Many businesses and workers have supported the use of outreach (FIFO) services of health care delivery in rural and remote areas in Australia

Age of Juvenile Offending

What do you think the minimum age of responsibility should be in terms of juvenile offending and which criminal rules would you change? Steven MacLean Class of 1992 Senior Constable Western Australian Police.

Understanding the question..

Children around western Australia are being charged with unreasonable consequences for offences that are minor, and influenced by underlying factors such as friends, family, household. Which disables opportunities when they become educated as they are older and understand more values and that they are to be held accountable for their actions

Why is this a problem?

This is a problem because it affects communities everywhere. So many children grow up in an abusive household, where children are neglected, exposed to hard drugs, experience trauma meaning  they are not properly educated on what is right and wrong, and what the consequences for the wrong actions will be. This can affect the later life of the children. When they try to make money as they older, they will be rejected from multiple jobs as a result of their criminal record, which puts them at a huge disadvantage in terms of income and opportunities, while also encouraging more crimes in order for the person to bring in money and get by, all because of a crime they were charged with which they were pressured/forced into.

To convict a child aged between 10 and 14 at trial, the prosecution must rebut the presumption that the child was not able to distinguish right from wrong and should therefore be deemed incapable of committing a criminal act. 

the guardian

evidence of this being a problem

An 11 year old boy, raised in a household of neglect, had became involved with a violent group. Around 3 am during 2016 firework celebrations, the boy was egged on by older members of the group, oldest being19 years old, too attack a man, and kill him. He was charged with manslaughter, receiving 2 years detention and once released, to be under supervised parole. When this boy was released, his lack of a stable household and schooling, lead him to go off on a crime spree, breaking into houses and cars. This boy did not receive any help with his situation during and more importantly after his sentence. This stopped him from learning and growing from his mistakes, as he was not educated in how crimes will affect his life in the future, and his living situation was not attended to, exposing him back into the same circumstances he was in when he committed the murder. If we gave this boy the resources he needed to, to learn and support him, the. Chances of hi continuing his life of crime would have been reduced greatly. This happens so often (maybe not with the same level of severity of crime) that it is so obvious how much of a problem it is.

the 11 year old boy charged

It left many in the community questioning: how could such a young boy be implicated in such a heinous crime?

Why was a boy of primary school age roaming the city streets with a violent mob in the early hours of the morning?

Where were his parents and why wasn’t he at home safe with his family, like the thousands of other children who hours earlier had enjoyed the Australia Day fireworks?

The unfortunate reality is that this child, as is the case with countless others, never stood a chance of having what most people in modern day Australia might consider a “normal” life. – taken from an ABC net article on the situation

Our individual solutions / Opinions  on the subject 

Remy – The age that juvenile offenders should be held responsible for the crimes they are committing and being charged with as of right now are very unfair to disadvantaged and young children, so, the punishment severity should be depending on the type of crime committed, and court should look futher into environmental causes, to understand why the crime was comitted, and instead of just locking the child up, providing them resources to educate them and help their living situation. I think the age should be 16

Luke – we need to solve this problem because Kids brain are still developing at the age of 10 which means that they are unclear and unaware of the situation which they are getting themselves involved in. An incident at the age of 10 should not be put on a criminal record or be required a sentence time. 

Ella – Young kids have not yet developed their full brain yet and at the age of ten the children are still learning about life. From the gap 10 to 14 the kids are developing and are becoming wiser and at the age of 14 they have developed their full understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Ways which we can try and help children to understand include giving kids lectures and talks from the police and primary school and help them get an understanding that doing crime is bad.

Jaime – I believe it’s unfair that the juvenile offenders age is 10. At the age of 10 kids aren’t are not fully aware of the consequences and what’s wrong and right, however at the age of 14 they have developed a general sense of the consequences and are given the chance to learn from mistakes. There are hard limitations to solve this issue but providing awareness more to society and educating young children can make a difference.

Focus points and background info, helpful for creating a solution 

The current age for a juvenile responsibility in Western Australia is 10 years old, so, from 10 until 14, children can be held criminally responsible in criminal proceedings if there is proof the child understood the wrongfulness of their behaviour. Crimes which 10-year-old mostly commit include, Graffiti, Vandalism and shoplifting. Crimes such a drug offence normally start from the age 13-14 onwards.

If we don’t find a solution

if we don’t find a solution to this ordeal, many troubled youths will continue to suffer and be left behind by the WA court system, and continue to commit these crimes and lead poor lives because they were left to slip through the cracks and not be supported and educated on how their decisions affect their lives, and people surrounding them’s lives. We really need to solve this problem to move forward as a country and restore equality between age, class, gender etc

Minimum Age of Responsibility #1

The following post will detail our group’s ideas about why children below 10 should not go to Juvy because of many factors influencing their decisions such as socioeconomic status, fault in parenting, etc.

Boys Behind Bars: Inside a childrens' prison | SBS News
A Juvenile Detention centre is Australia

Studies have shown the way a child is raised has extreme impacts on their personality, mental health, and how they behave. The earlier a child enters the justice system, the more likely they are to have repeat interactions with it. Children are greatly impacted by their environment and the way they are raised. Being punished harshly or being separated from society in juvenile detention centers, with other offenders, has been shown to make children more likely to rebel and commit crimes in the future. It isolates them from the rest of the world when they are still learning how to be a part of it, not giving them a chance to improve and show they have learned to be better. Sending a child to Juvy early on has a negative effect bringing them up in a bad society.

However, if interactions with the justice system were positive, the child would learn and have support rather than be damaged. (This follows the idea that support is better than fear when it comes to teaching/ruling/parenting.) The Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory found that the NT youth detention system was likely to leave many children and young people more damaged when they leave than when they entered the system. By sending a child to correctional classes they can learn why what they did was wrong, to stop them repeating their behavior in the future, while still maintaining a relationship with their family and a connection to the outside world.

People are told about the law from a young age, and that we need to obey it because of moral obligation. If children commit crimes that go against certain morals, like animal cruelty, the parents should take the most responsibility for not teaching them it is wrong to hurt others. 

The key issue is that we are all different. At the age of 4, most kids know it is wrong to steal a car whereas some kids believe it is right at the age of 10. The environment a child is brought up in seriously impacts their actions against/with the law. Kids who are young and who have not been taught how to be law-abiding should be counseled and taught correctly not out in prison with a negative experience.

Age and Social Media

The Legal responsibilities of social media companies

Social media is becoming increasingly populer, which means more people are starting to use it. becuase of this, companies are starting to have legal responsibilities to keep the users and there information safe.

The legal responsibilities

one of the many legal responsibilities of social media companies is to keep there users safe. but tone thing that makes this hard for the companies is people lying about there age. people do this to view innapropriate things (porn) or its just kids and they dont know any better.

Solution

our solution is that whenever you have to buy a computer or phone, you have to go to someone in the store and they will put in your age. This means that they will not be able to lie about there age as it is already set into the computer/phone.

Minimum Age of Responsibility #2

If a child commits a crime before the age of 10, their parents/guardians can be fined and they may have to do community service or attend correctional classes. If the child continues to offend, a government official ‘nanny’ can be sent to live in the household, to help around the house, care for the child and ensure they obey the law. However, children under ten can not be sent to juvenile detention centers.

If a child under 10 commits a crime, they must be proven in court that they knew what they were doing when they did it. If the crime is an infraction they can choose not to do this and accept the consequences instead. The court hearing must be friendly and positive.

They face either

  1. A fine towards the guardians and a warning to the child for infractions — eg.  trespass, walking an unleashed dog, littering
  2. Community service for misdemeanors — eg. theft, vandalism, destruction of property
  3. Guardians must attend parenting classes and the child is sent to correctional classes for felonies — eg. animal cruelty, murder
  4. For repeated offenses, a government official ‘nanny’ is sent to live with/visit daily and take care of the child (and help the guardians) for an amount of time

Crimes do not go on the offenders’ record, unless they are a misdemeanor or higher and repeated more than twice with less than three years apart.

Reasons for this

Children are greatly impacted by their environment and the way they are brought up. Studies have shown the way a child is raised has extreme impacts on their personality, mental health, and how they behave. This is why parents/guardians should take partial of the responsibility, for not teaching the child it is wrong, during a time when the guardian is the child’s highest influence.

Additionally, being punished harshly or being separated from society in juvenile detention centers, with other offenders, has been shown to make children more likely to rebel and commit crimes in the future. The earlier a child enters the justice system, the more likely they are to have repeat interactions with it. It isolates children from the rest of the world when they are still learning how to be a part of it, not giving them a chance to improve and show they have learnt to be better.

However, if those interactions with the justice system were positive, the child would learn and have support rather than be damaged. (This follows the idea that support is better than fear when it comes to teaching/ruling/parenting.) The Royal Commission into Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory found that the NT youth detention system was likely to leave many children and young people more damaged when they leave than when they entered the system. By sending a child to correctional classes they can learn why what they did was wrong, to stop them repeating their behavior in the future, while still maintaining a relationship with their family and a connection to the outside world.

Engaging students

Different ways of learning

There are three primary learning styles that are the best way an individual can learn. These are visual (information is presented through pictures, videos, books, palm cards, PowerPoints, etc), auditory (information is presented orally, through lectures, audio clips (ted talks, etc) etc) and kinaesthetic (learning through hands on activities). According to our survey, the majority of students learn through kinaesthetic methods, but schools and teachers should do more to cater to individual learning styles, as trying to learn through a method different from one’s own is extremely challenging.

Match the learning experience to the student by providing a variety of learning resources. Teachers need to provide for all kinds of students, just like when you are younger you are taught information through sounds, visuals and hands-on activities. It is effective and gives everyone the opportunity to learn in the classroom.

Collaborative learning. Working in groups to create an end product while making goals and effectively communicating is a useful skill that everyone needs throughout their life. This also helps with conflict resolution and life skills. By having these experiences with other people you broaden your horizons, get to know different people and understand different cultures.

“More relevance to todays society”

Student response to our survey

Make learning meaningful by showing the connection of what they are learning to the real world or show how it is a useful skill in some way by using examples.

E.g., Reading helps with empathy because you see life through other perspectives and furthers your comprehension skills.

By using examples like the above backed up with evidence you can also make it meaningful. By showing students how knowing this information can help them, can help others and make a difference or just appeal to their interests even it will motivate them to learn.

“I like hands on learning because it helps me to better understand the concept of topics”

Student response to our survey

 Hands on learning allows students to get involved and be creative, nurturing their imagination. It gives variance in classes, preventing boredom in students. It also gives more hands-on students an opportunity to do something they enjoy.

It is fun and engaging

Provides real experiences

Encourages interaction with nature

Exploration using all five senses

Engages multiple areas of the brain

Builds on fine motor skills

What our survey said about how we learn!

Our group conducted a survey of teachers, and a separate one of students. In the questions specifically relating specifically to teaching methods and environments and engagement of students as a result. In these questions, the students said they preferred learning in outdoor environments. According to our survey, the majority of students learn through kinaesthetic methods, but schools and teachers should do more to cater to individual learning styles, as trying to learn through a method different from one’s own is extremely challenging. Teachers thought that students were more engaged in formative test situations, note taking or a variation between teacher and student centred learning, none of which qualify as kinaesthetic activities directly, which the majority of students said they preferred and worked better doing. The students also said they preferred learning in outdoor environments, and when teachers were asked about the possibility of teaching outdoors, the responses were half and half, with most of the teachers listing the negatives (primarily weather issues) of the prosect, even though students said they enjoyed it and learned more when working outdoors. The message that was received through this specific set of data indicates that teachers need to better understand how their students learn the best and perhaps cater more towards their needs instead of focussing on the negatives, as their students would be better off for it

“I love being in nature and outside of our closed in rooms”

student response to survey

By having regular movement breaks you can increase productivity. Let students walk around during class and get up to stretch to engage the mind and body. Going for walks has been proven to increase oxygen intake and increase mental capabilities along with wellbeing. So just by having those breaks students feel freer in school and actively engaged. It is also important for the student’s physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing. This can be achieved by stand up desks, a variety of chairs and other devices that encourage movement.

Teachers

Teachers need support, especially straight out of university as it is new teachers who most commonly experience unproductive and disengaged kids. This can be done by providing mentor teachers for those new to teaching, giving weekly updates and communicating heavily with parents and students to ensure that everyone is getting what they need.

Teachers should also have ample time to collaborate with other teachers to achieve what they need to and learn from other teachers on what they do in class and how they are teaching for the best outcome. This also makes teachers accountable for how they teach and provides responsibility and time to think about what they will do for their students.

Managing funding into the right areas for what the students in each school or classroom needs is also important. So, if students are struggling to use their facilities, that is where funding should go, if they lack experience with technology then invest in that area and so forth.

40% of students are unproductive each year in Australia

WAYS TO GET KIDS INVOLVED

Provide feedback throughout the year for students to work on their goals and find out what they need to do to improve. So, teacher and student meetings not just parent meetings. This also makes students accountable for what they do in class and what they are learning. This also makes it easier for students to ask a teacher questions if they need help since the teacher goes to them and it’s less confronting.

Letting teenagers contribute in a positive way can have a massive effect on not only them as an individual but the community and encourages them to make that positive impact on others. When teachers use a student’s feedback to make a change it makes them feel listened to and cared for. It is as simple as going that extra step by having those conversations with students where the student is engaged and leading the conversation.

Positive Ways to Improve Interactions with Students

Creating good teacher student bonds through caring for students and their emotional and social needs, being positive, increasing one on one time, being fair and having trust in your students.

This can be done by simply treating students like human beings and allowing them to have drink bottles in class, go to the bathroom freely, leave class when they need to and having opportunities for them to talk honestly about what they want and need.

Students don’t like it when teachers raise their voice or humiliate them in front of their peers, it makes them feel worse, alone, unmotivated and scared. They will be reluctant to make contributions in class or ask for help. By simply having a nice tone and volume you can create a more positive and engaging atmosphere for your classroom.

Having positive posters and decorations is a good step forward but it is how you reinforce them that matters. Having the school psychologist and teachers keep up with students and what they are doing so you know when something is wrong. Then asking the student if they are okay and being encouraging is the next step in ensuring they feel safe, listened too and supported by their school community.  

“The best way to make children good is to make them happy.”

– Oscar Wilde

Homework and study

Should parents help their kids with homework?

Learning at home (homework) is considered to be harder for the majority of students as being at home provides multiple distractions and obstacles for them to have to combat. This includes having plans after school, dealing with family members or not having the proper resources at home.  They also may struggle with concepts or time restrictions, causing stress and other unhealthy emotions which make homework a very unpleasant experience.

Study time and after-school homework for Australian students is rapidly increasing according to a new international study by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Australian students of fifteen years of age are found to spend on average six hours a week of homework, that is around about a full day of school. With an increase of 0.3 hours per week from the 2003 international study.

“less homework or more meaningful homework”

– Student response

Australia and Austria were the only countries to report a statistically significant increase in the amount of time students spend doing homework. This is not good enough; we are treating our students harshly and a change needs to be made. Either increase the quality of the homework, the level of how easy it is to complete the work and how engaging it is or decrease the amount of homework. There is no point if students are mindlessly completing tasks and not having fun. Instead students should enjoy education and the gift of learning.

“Homework is giving more exercise and practise to help students who need to improve. With homework there is no set time to submit, students can submit when they have completed the task. If there is no set time, students who want to improve will do the homework.”

– Teacher response to survey
How To Encourage Kids To Do Homework | GradePower Learning

Homework should be less theoretical and more practical which would make students more engaged. There should be kinds of homework as well which relate to more hands-on skills that will help with life later on. This includes cooking, cleaning, learning how to use a dish washer, learning how to use a drier etc. This would help students become more helpful at home while also providing them with useful experiences. There should also be more advice on how to study in a fun way or homework given that is letting the kids be creative and free. Like make a song, skit, poster, game or music video which involves multiple skills and is less dull.

The choice of what homework you do should also be the students. Provide students with choices for which type of homework they wish to complete. This will enable them to become more engaged with homework as they have more choice on what they want to do. When trialled in classrooms it was found that this encouraged students to complete their work to a higher degree and since they were given more freedom the majority were highly motivated to complete their task.

“Teachers need to stop setting us so much homework and expecting us to finish it all when we have so many subjects in a week”

– Student response to survey

“Homework is giving more exercise and practise to help students who need to improve. With homework there is no set time to submit, students can submit when they have completed the task. If there is no set time, students who want to improve will do the homework.”

– Teacher response to survey

There are positives to homework such as allowing more work to be completed, putting less stress on students and teachers to get so much done in one lesson, lets kids have control over how they learn and allows for creative license. This is of course, when homework is done right. It has been proven that by OECD that in advantaged countries, socio-economically advantaged students spend 1.6hrs longer doing homework than a disadvantaged student. So, homework can have a positive influence, if done well and with purpose.

“It might be useful to finish off some work, do some reading, or consolidate understanding. Never just for the sake of it. Only given if needed.”

– Teacher response

Student Wellbeing

To have a successful education and schooling system you need a successful and well run mental health and counselling program. This would make schools more appealing and function better as students would be able to feel safe and accepted in their environment.

A study performed by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) concluded through their investigation that wellbeing, belonging and engagement programs caused an academic improvement equivalent to four months of additional learning. So it isn’t a waste of resources or time to be considering not only the course outline and learning materials but also the wellbeing of students and teachers so that they may have a more positive and motivated outlook on work. As well as improving grades, the participating students also commented on their improved mental states. Overall improving wellbeing and the effectiveness of school. 

“better pastoral care program, more mental health support, better discipline for bullies etc”

– answer from student survey

We as a group of young boys and schools in school provide the perspective that schools would benefit from allowing students to create and run a range of clubs and groups that would contribute to the school community, give students a place to go to find friends, allow for many groups of different people with different cultures and interests to meet and widen the understanding of students. Along with giving kids freedom with their education and more choice in what they do at school. This would allow more students to feel like they belong and are involved in a community, and therefore creating better overall wellbeing.

Uniforms

“i hate the uniform, the summer uniform is the only dress i own, its so uncomfortable i feel exposed constantly, what we really want is pants. why is it so bad we have pants?”

“whats the downside of giving people a more comfortable option?”

– responses from student survey

Uniforms add to the general anxiety around school and take away from students wellbeing. It also rake away from students freedom if you don’t have multiple options for students who feel uncomfortable with certain options. In our survey we found most feel limited by their uniform, uncomfortable and feel insecure wearing it.

Subjects

School curriculums in Australia are primarily decided by the government, and schools get to decide how they are taught. And most of the time, students are forced to learn these subjects with no choice, and therefore contribute to a severe disinterest in learning, causing marks to be lower in comparison to when subjects are chosen. Marks in chosen subjects are about 13% higher than those of compulsory subjects (see the attached graph).

As the government determines the curriculum, schools are left with little opportunity to teach students far more necessary life skills, such as how to use a bank account, write a resume, deal with cyberbullying, household repairs, emotional control and comprehension, first aid, etcetera. The only compulsory pre-existing subject in school that teaches necessary life skills is economics, and even that is only a small part of a singular subject. According to Professor Scott Falhman of Carnegie Mellon University, we only actively use about a third of what we learn. Of course this amount varies, but generally speaking this means that the vast majority of what we learn in school is impractical. If students were taught more about what we need in the real world, and less about topics that have no real world practical application.

Calling for help: Domestic Violence

How can women use a form of contact to get help when in a domestic violence situation?

Grace Langer, Liam Jaeger, Mischa Watson, Bella Fleming and Ethan Clark

Domestic violence: the domination, coercion, intimidation and victimization of one person by another by physical, sexual or emotional means within intimate relationships.

Violence: Violence is “the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy”

Abuse: treat with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.

Gender inequality: is the social process by which men and women are not treated as equals

Sexism: prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

Incorrect use of power

What exactly needs to be solved?

Domestic violence is a massively occurring issue that happens all over the world. It is something that is destroying the physical and mental wellbeing of women. We need to solve this issue or at least minimize the problem all around the world. The least we can do to help educate people around the world, women, and men, about what you can do to stop or help yourself if you get stuck in a domestic violence situation.

What needs to be changed?

We need to change people’s knowledge about the situation. So many people are so oblivious to this issue and have no idea how to help themselves or other people who get caught up in this type of situation. If we can educate the people around us, it will dramatically help improve domestic violence situations.

How does this problem help people in the community?

Domestic violence impacts a community in surprising ways. Children witnessing violence committed against their parents can find it difficult to trust adults in the future. It compromises their attachment to the person that should love and protect them, weakening the family unit. Domestic violence can affect a family’s bond. This can also cause issues in the child’s future as they believe it is normal and could cause so many issues for their family’s future too.

How do we provide women in a domestic violence situation with a mobile phone to call for help? Or how can she call for help?

We provide women in a domestic violence situation with a mobile phone to call for help as using a mobile phone they can get themselves out of any situation. There are so many people we can reach out to on a mobile phone. This includes family, friends, and services such as the police, ambulance. There are hotlines that women can call if they are stuck in this situation, although the majority of the time, the woman does not have a phone with them to call for help. This is why we need to develop other solutions that will be easier and safer for women to use, rather than having to worry about having a phone and putting themselves in danger of getting caught with the phone.

The Black Dot Campaign

The idea behind the Black Dot campaign is that victims of domestic violence can draw a black dot on their hand as a silent signal. Once it becomes widely enough understood, people who see the dot on their friends’ hands can approach them and have a conversation about abuse or get help. The black dot campaign is a way for women in domestic violence situations to get help without having to say anything to an ambulance or police officer. This strategy can really help a person in an abusive relationship in person rather than over the phone.

The Black Dot Campaign was founded as a way for victims of domestic abuse to silently signal another person- perhaps a family member or friend- that they are being abused.

How does domestic violence affect women?

Domestic violence is a major contributor to the ill health of women. It has serious consequences on women’s mental and physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health. These include injuries, temporary or permanent disabilities, depression, and suicide, amongst other

The most common age when intimate partner violence is first experienced by women is age 18-24, followed by age 11-17, age 35-44, and age 45+ 

Helplines:

1800 Respect

1800 737 732

This 24-hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counseling line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.

Women and girls constitute the majority of reported victims of family and sexual violence to Victoria Police. 77% of reported family violence victims and 89.09% of reported rape victims are women and girls.

Statistics:

1 in 4 women will experience physical violence by their intimate partner at some point during their lifetimes.

One in 6 women have experienced stalking during their lifetimes. The majority are stalked by someone they know. An intimate partner stalks about 6 in 10 female victims and 4 in 10 male victims.

At least 5 million acts of domestic violence occur annually to women aged 18 years and older, with over 3 million involving men. While most events are minor, for example grabbing, shoving, pushing, slapping, and hitting, serious and sometimes fatal injuries do occur.

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/family-and-domestic-violence/what-family-and-domestic-violence

Knowledge and information

What happens with people involved in domestic violence?

These include jail time, domestic violence counselling, fines, various fees, probation, and the issuance of a protective order. Additionally, the defendant will likely lose his or her Second Amendment rights and be required to forfeit all firearms. There may be custody issues involving his or her children.

Risk factors for domestic violence

  • Alcohol and drug use. 
  • Child abuse. 
  • Pregnancy and separation. 
  • Attitudes to violence against women. 
  • Younger women. 
  • Women living in rural and remote areas. 
  • Women with disabilities.

How is this solved in different countries?

Nepal: If a female victim of domestic violence visits a hospital in Nepal, the doctors take the patient to a separate wing of the hospital where they can speak to a counselor and have a female police officer present at all times to make them feel safe. 

New Zealand is the country with the highest domestic violence rate

Studies show that New Zealand has the highest rate of reported intimate partner violence in the developed world.

Solution product: 

We have created a ring that will help a person in a domestic violence situation. This ring has the ability to contact a domestic violence helpline in the police department and will send them your location which will help notify them that you need help immediately.

We chose this ring to be our solution as we feel it is a small item that doesn’t stand out and is a cheap and easy way to contact services without making it obvious.

The ring is glass and aluminum material and looks like a completely normal ring. It is different although it has an inbuilt button that if held down for 3 seconds, it calls the police and sends them your location.

When notifying police, it comes upon a specific screen so they know exactly what’s going on and come prepared to deal with the situation so that they can help.

We believe this can be a lifesaver for so many women around the world. It is cheap, secretive and will be a perfect way to help so many women when they’re stuck in a situation they are struggling to escape from.

We think the product could solve so many people’s situations in domestic violence so if we can spread the word and make this product work and get into the market, we think that domestic violence as a whole will be minimised by a dramatic amount.

This looks like a normal ring. The difference between this ring and other rings is that the blue gem on the top is actually a contact device that if held down for 3 seconds, immediately calls emergency services and sends them your location, so they can immediately come and help you.

The cost of this ring will be $170. It is this price because we feel it is affordable enough for most people to buy, but isn’t too cheap or too expensive. If its too cheap, people will misuse it and mistreat it and underestimate its power, although it isn’t too expensive to the point where people refuse to buy it. 

Wharfs and Crocodiles

A wharf is a structure on the shore of a harbour or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers. It is recommended that inspections be undertaken at least every 2 years for urban wharves and every 3 to 5 years for regional wharves. These inspections are crucial too ensure that the structural integrity of the wharf is maintained. The steel piles supporting the structure will corrode over time so it is important that they are surveyed so that we know which piles need to be replaced.

Our groups approach to this problem is a quite simple solution – using technology instead of people to inspect the wharfs in crocodile infested waters.

Underwater drones:

Underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV), sometimes known as underwater drones, are any vehicles that can operate underwater without a human occupant and are instead controlled from land or ship. ROVs are commonly used in oceanic research, for purposes such as current and temperature measurement, ocean floor mapping, and Hydrothermal vent detection.

If fitted with an Ultrasonic Distance Measurer (UDM), the ROV would have the ability to measure the width of the piles underneath the wharf. This would eliminate the need to send people underwater to inspect wharves meaning that no one would be put in danger.

Best underwater drones 2020: the 13 best ROVs this year

Self-propelled shark cage:

The Self Propelled Ocean Cage (SPOC) is an experimental self-propelled cage for divers to get up close and personal with sharks. If someone must be sent underwater to inspect or repair the wharf, this technology will enable people to easily fix and/or replace anything that is broken while also protecting from the crocodiles.

This strange underwater contraption is revolutionising underwater  filmmaking | Animalogic

Tracking chips:

Satellite tracking tags send a signal every time the shark’s fin breaks the waters’ surface and the transmitter can send the data straight to the satellite receiver. These tags are attached to the dorsal fin of a shark while the shark is held beside the boat. The shark can be followed for the life of the tag battery. A similar chip to the ones that are used to track sharks could be used to track crocodiles in the area. If a crocodile is approaching the tracking chip will send a signal alerting anyone that happens to be in the water if a crocodile is near by.

GPS for Sharks – Shark Research & Conservation Program (SRC) | University  of Miami