The Connecting Our Worlds professional development package provides information on young people’s online context, and guidance on using technology in service delivery to make your services more accessible and engaging for young people.
Each part of the education package consists of a PowerPoint tutorial you can use at your own pace, with supplementary notes, quizzes and case studies that can be downloaded for your reference.
For young people, technology is a part of life. It is not a separate entity but a vital cog in their social cycle. It is who they are and how they experience the world around them. Whilst as healthcare professionals we accept this, we are still coming to terms with the potential benefits of technology as a therapeutic and clinical tool.
To be able to use technology in working with young people, healthcare professionals need a basic understanding of this relationship, of the current technologies, and of the ethical parameters around technology use. Understanding the nature of young people's relationship with technology; how they use it to communicate, how they engage and relate through technology, and the frequency of such use, is important in understanding how to facilitate help-seeking behaviour and connecting with those young people in need.
The ReachOut Schools educational module - Connecting Our Worlds, is an initiative to assist healthcare practitioners, youth workers, and those working in health promotion to better engage with young people through the use of technology. It is aimed at providing a basic understanding of the benefits of technology with some introductory "how-to" exercises and practical solutions.
Within this module, we recognise the increasing benefits of using technology, but also the limits. In particular, the evidence and guidelines supporting technology are still emerging and so we also encourage clinical judgement and the use of existing ethical and professional codes. However, we believe that healthcare professionals who are aware of these issues and ready and willing to manage these appropriately can successfully span the digital divide and better engage with young people from all walks of life.
Finally, the completion of these modules would not have been possible without the existing partnership between ReachOut.com by Inspire Foundation, Orygen Youth Health and the Brain & Mind Research Institute (BMRI). Additionally, I would also like to acknowledge Psychologists Anna Sidis and Liesje Donkin for their significant contribution in producing the content for this module and the reference group for their guidance and advice. The reference group members include:
- Emily May (Youth Action and Policy Association NSW Inc)
- Fiona Robards (NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health)
- Professor Helen Herrman and Swagata Bapat (Orygen Youth Health and the University of Melbourne)
- Jenna Denley and Rebecca Mollica (Inspire Youth Ambassadors)
- Jill Michalski (Hume Regional Early Psychosis Service)
- Associate Professor Lena Sanci (The Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne)
- Dr Liz Scott, Jeannie Gehue and Liesje Donkin (Headspace Central Sydney and the Brain & Mind Research Institute, The University of Sydney)
- Michael Emslie (Youth Work Program, RMIT University)
- Michelle Blanchard Cooperative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing
- Nadine Finlay, Kellie Howe, Shane Cucow and Anna Sidis
- Patrick Hurley (Brain & Mind Research Institute).
We hope this module will compliment your current practice and provide new ideas and options for supporting the young people you work with.
The ReachOut Schools team welcomes your feedback and new ideas. Please email us to send us your thoughts.
Professor Helen Herrman