Saturday, May 23, 2009

Generation Next Explodes Myths

Last night I attended the "Generation Next" seminar in Sydney, hosted by Sunrise's Melissa Doyle, and wasn't surprised to see a room packed full of 800 concerned parents eager to learn more about the current issues affecting our teenagers.

With 1 in 4 young people diagnosed with mental illness, including eating disorders, there is a need to raise awareness of how parents can help and support their children, and the important role a GP can play in their child's development.

Around 160,000 young people aged 16-24 years live with depression(1) which is known to destroy the basis for rational thought. Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, official Ambassador for the National Depression Initiative - Beyondblue - stated that depression can be triggered by alcohol and other drug use, and this week launched the "Youth Beyond Blue" campaign to help young people find their way back from anxiety and depression.

Wendy Protheroe from Kids Helpline said that the majority of callers to the Helpline were from teenagers who felt that their parents didn't listen to them. Kids Helpline receives calls from 300,000 children per year which shows how great the need is for our young people to feel as though they have a voice.

Other issues raised include cyberbullying, alcohol and drug use as well as sex education and the emerging trend "sexting", which disturbingly, has already resulted in a teenager up on child pornography charges for posting lewd a picture of themself on the internet.

Generation Next founder Dr Ramesh Manocha said that our teenagers lack the cognitive and emotional maturity, as well as life experience, to deal with the images they come across on the internet, and that it is up to parents to regulate and supervise internet usage.

He also said that signs your child may have depression, and you should see a GP are:

  • any time your child appears to be unhappy withdtrawn, or
  • over emotional, or
  • sleeping poorly for more than two weeks at a time.
The four hour seminar explores a myriad of issues and goes a long way in helping the older generations devise strategies to improve communication and better support our young people.

For more information on the Generation Next seminars taking place around the country, go here:

Other Resources:

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

(1) Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008). 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results (4326.0). Canberra: ABS

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