Strengthening Youth Services

A new study finds that there are wide discrepancies in the mental health outcomes of young people living in rural and urban areas. The research published in the Journal of Applied Social Science focuses on youth suffering from Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) that impacts their family life, relationships, self-care, and their learning.

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Empathy in Youth Work

“Empathy is vital in understanding the needs and issues facing young people, and it is important to recognise the potential they have.” Sociologists Steven MacLennan, Keith Muir & Susan Thoms review the important elements of working with youth, focusing on a shared common purpose. It is essential to acknowledge the injustice that youth may have experienced while working towards goals. At the same time tasks should be mutually negotiated rather than imposed,working to the individual’s strengths and interests. This is good management practice in all fields as research shows that people are most productive when they feel listened to and … Continue reading Empathy in Youth Work

Culturally relevant mental health services for Indigenous youth

Indigenous communities in remote areas face problems of access and relevance when it comes to mental health services. In areas such as Darwin and Alice Springs, where mental health practitioners are so far they need to be flown in, mental health delivery is costly. Efforts can also be impeded by using Western ideas on public awareness.

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A packed crowd in a stadium

Social Science of Crowds

Social policy makers can benefit from ongoing applied research into the social behaviour of crowds. This is partly about planning, such as management of landscapes, improving infrastructure, decreasing traffic congestion and so on. This is also because local communities need to improve social service delivery.

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Sunsent over lake in Illawarra

Research consultancy to improve civic participation

On Sociology at Work, a not-for-profit that I run, Scott Burrows wrote about his work documenting and addressing youth unemployment. Scott is a sociologist and research consultant for private industry, working in picturesque Illawara, in regional New South Wales, Australia.

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Three young men and two young women talk and laugh as they walk the street

Including youth in community consulting

Societies make many negative assumptions about the types of young people who are forced into criminal activity, and why this might occur. Yet, as Sociology professor Randy Blazak points out, youth voices are often missing from these discussions. Professor Blazak talks about the problem of labelling at-risk youth “gang members.” He notes that not listening to these youth’s experiences can become a “self-fulling prophecy.” He explains: “People don’t get better when you focus on the bad stuff.” In sociology, we know this as labelling theory.

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