Aussie Optimism is an evidence-based mental health promotion program for children in primary and lower secondary schools. Aussie Optimism is based on Seligman’s theories of learned helplessness, and more generally on Positive Psychology. As such, Aussie Optimism focuses on building competencies in children, rather than alleviating problems.
Aussie Optimism is designed for teachers to use with a whole class in school over a term with one session a week. Aussie Optimism teaches practical skills and strategies relating to social and emotional wellbeing in children, and makes use of empirically validated psychological and educational techniques.
The content of our programs is developmentally appropriate for children of different ages, and has been extensively evaluated since being developed in 1997. Research indicates that Aussie Optimism:
- reduces mental health difficulties
- increases recovery from depressive disorders
- reduces the incidence of suicidal ideation and behavior
- increases the recovery from suicidal ideation and behavior
- increases pro-social behaviour
- reduces the likelihood of drinking and smoking at later stages
- Shortlisted for the Mental Health Commission Good Outcomes Awards (2013) – Category six – Dr Mark Rooney Award for improved outcomes in child youth mental health sponsored by the Commissioner for Children and Young People.
- Suicide Prevention Australia’s LIFE Award in the Youth Category (2008)
- Curtin University’s Division of Health Sciences’ Research Group of the Year (2004)