Can Animal Assisted Therapies Help to Tackle Issues of Wellbeing and Mental Health?

The role of animals in supporting mental health and emotional wellbeing is probably not a modern phenomenon. Myers (1998) draws our attention to the book ‘De Canibus Britannicus’, written in the sixteenth century by Dr Cairs in which he advocated the therapeutic use of dogs and recommended that a person afflicted by illness should carry a small dog on their bosom to soak up the disease. In 1699 John Locke prescribed giving children small animals, including dogs, birds or even squirrels, to look after, in order to foster the development of ‘tender feelings and responsibility for others’ (Garforth, 1964, p.154).  The assumption was that this would help children to control their innately ‘beast like’ characteristics (Myers, 1998). In the first of her two guest posts this week on Power to Persuade, Dr Alison Broad the Director of Primary Initial Teacher Education examines the question – can animal assisted therapies help to tackle the issues of wellbeing and mental health?

Read More

What Australians think about poverty - and how it can change (part 2)

Maiy Azize explains the important lessons of Anglicare Australia ‘s recent study of attitudes towards welfare and poverty for how anti-poverty advocates can use language effectively. Boldly stating our support for all people in poverty, as well as focussing on their strength and resilience are two key recommendations.

Read More

RAMP-ing up responses to radicalisation in our communities: effective pathways to engagement.

Post-Christchurch, our leaders must reinvigorate their responses to radicalisation in our communities. Deb Cleland and Valerie Braithwaite (ANU) introduce the RAMP framework for behaviour change to help understand community organisations’ responses to radicalisation. The RAMP framework suggests that behaviour change can be facilitated by: Rewards, Awareness, Motivation and Pathways. 

Read More

Meditation, Mindfulness and Mental Wellbeing

Building knowledge and capacity for policy change is the vision of Power to Persuade. But policy work is difficult, time consuming, on-going, hidden and often with limited success. Burn out in this space is quite common and therefore it is necessary to remind ourselves that self-care and mental wellbeing can also be considered par for course of policy change! This week’s blog posts will begin with reflections from a social policy researcher, Isabella Saunders, based at the Centre for Social Impact, UNSW. Using her experience of an extended road trip around Australia, she provides life hacks to ‘break free from the metaphorical prison that is “routine”.’ Isabella’s has expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods research experience in the fields of employment, young people and disability, both in Australia and overseas. This piece was originally published on the Croakey website on 30th April 2019.

Read More

We need tomorrow’s teachers today

Is Australia’s education system adequately developing our children for the jobs of the future? Incept Labs’ Dr Robert Kay argues that under the current system, our children will not prepared for the next wave of workforce changes that the World Economic Forum’s Professor Klaus Schwab has dubbed the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’ His solution? Education 3.0 and a new mindset for the teachers of tomorrow.

Read More

Why government agencies forget

Scholars have, for decades, suggested that organisational amnesia can negatively impact the effectiveness of government agencies. So why do they forget? Maria Katsonis has summarised the findings of Alastair Stark (University of Queensland) for why public institutions may be unable - or unwilling - to access and/or use past experiences to help deliver better public outcomes.

Read More