Over 950 parents, professionals and Victorians of all walks of life flocked to Melbourne last Friday to take part in our Melbourne Mental Health and Wellbeing of Young People seminar.

The all-day event included presentations on a diverse range of topics that are currently critical to youth wellbeing. A new addition for the Melbourne seminar was senior lecturer and researcher in psychology, Dr Rachael Sharman with Green Space and the Power of Nature Play for Shaping the Developing Brain. Nature play is now being championed by mental health and medical professionals alike for its benefits on a number of wellbeing indicators, but Dr Sharman’s in-depth analysis of its effect on neurological development was both fascinating and included practical takeaways for parents and many different professionals.

Dr Kristy Goodwin was another hit with her also-timely Managing Attention Span in the Age of Digital Distractions. More than just a means to achieving other ends, Dr Goodwin argues that the ability to direct one’s attention will be the single most critical skill for the 21st century. Her research, presenting and writing have garnered a great deal of media attention this year, with EducationHQ reporting from the event to share what teachers can do to help young people focus and the ‘moral imperative [they have] to wean kids off tech’.

Gill Hicks and Matt X covered two very different sides of the issue of violent extremism. Gill’s talk From Trauma to Strength was the heart-wrenching story of surviving the 7/7 London bombings, highlighting not only the possibility of recovery from even the most terrible circumstances, but also the utter futility of crimes of hatred. By contrast, in Choosing Not to Hate Matt related his dramatic turnaround from former leader of an extremist gang to counter-violent extremist expert, to his current work of mentoring young people who have been radicalised so that they too can reject the hateful ideologies they’ve been exposed to.


Some comments from our attendees

Excellent! Inspiring, relevant and thought-provoking. I have so much to take back and share with my fellow staff, and it will impact on my practice positively!

As a casual relief teacher I paid for this myself and travelled four hours to be here. WORTH EVERY CENT AND TIME.

Again a conference to inspire. Thank you so much. Love love loved Matt X and Gill.


Our seminar series may be over for 2019 but our quality content continues. This Thursday, 5 September our webcast A Detective Steps into the Predator’s Lair Disguised as a Child will outline important information for keeping young people safe from online sexual predators. You can also register now for the cheapest prices available for next year’s seminars. As always, we hope you’ll spread the word about our initiatives and ensure we can provide them for years to come!