Negotiating Year 12 stress at Murdoch Open Day

July 8, 2015

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg will talk to students and parents about how to handle stress in Year 12 at Murdoch University's Open Day.Survival skills for Year 12s and their parents will be the subject of two inspirational presentations by an adolescent mental health expert at Murdoch University’s Open Day on Sunday, July 26.

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg from the Melbourne-based The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, will be offering free practical advice, support and help for those tackling a stressful and intense period of schooling.

Dr Carr-Gregg said there was no question there is now more pressure than ever on young people to be successful in their exams and enter university.

“In a study of almost 700 Year 12 students in Victoria recently, 31 per cent were found to be depressed, 16 per cent were suicidal and 41 per cent suffered with anxiety. There is clearly a major mental health problem in a generation of young people in Australia,” said Dr Carr-Gregg.

“Sometimes pupils are getting the wrong messages from schools and parents, such as their life depends on tertiary admission or that life is not worth living without good grades.

“But these exams do not have to be the stress fest we have turned them into. There are now many universities, including Murdoch, which offer alternative pathways into their courses via enabling programs (among Murdoch’s suite of enabling programs is the 14 week OnTrack course). It means that students who don’t achieve the required minimum ATAR can still access university because tertiary institutions realise that exam marks do not tell the whole story about an individual’s capabilities and development.”

On top of advice about adjusting expectations, getting more sleep and ensuring students eat breakfast, Dr Carr-Gregg will be discussing a number of technologies that can help students to cope with the stress of Year 12.

“There are apps that can be downloaded, such as the Smiling Mind app that leads students in mindful meditation or the Breathe app which takes users through deep breathing exercises to help them deal with stress,” he said. “There’s another called Couch to 5k which is an easy to follow and achievable exercise program. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever.”

Dr Carr-Gregg’s presentations will be held in the Kim Beazley Lecture Theatre at 11.30am and 2pm. The talks will last for 45 minutes and his book Strictly Parenting – Everything you need to know about raising school-aged kids will be available for purchase on the day.

His presentations are just two of the many highlights of this year’s Open Day experience at Murdoch which runs from 10am until 4pm.

More than 700 Staff and student volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and help parents and prospective students explore their university options at a variety of ‘hotspot’ displays and activities around campus.

Highlights include the mock trial of Goldilocks at our School of Law, learning how to operate the pilot plant at the School of Engineering and Information Technology and meeting some feathered and furry friends from the Kanyana and Kaarakin Wildlife Centres at the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences.

And these activities are just the tip of the iceberg. There are an array of activities in every area of study including nursing, education, environmental science and psychology.

Visitors can also take tours of campus and soak up the atmosphere with free entertainment including fairground rides, food vans and an animal farm on Bush Court.

More information is available from the Murdoch Open Day website here.

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