While nearly 500 people made the most of the opportunity to hear from leading child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg’s during his visit to the Upper Hunter earlier this week, we realise plenty more couldn’t make it.  We took plenty of notes and below is a summary of the books, websites and apps recommended by Dr Carr-Gregg.

They are as follows (those asterisked are the ones he REALLY recommends):

****https://brave4you.psy.uq.edu.au/ : The Brave Programme is an excellent on-line cognitive behavioural therapy for 8-12 year olds suffering mild to moderate anxiety.

****https://moodgym.com.au/ :moodgym is like an interactive self-help book which helps teenagers to learn and practise skills which can help to prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.

http://foodandmoodcentre.com.au/: showcases the strong link between a good diet and good mental health.

http://vuir.vu.edu.au/467/: Understanding and helping the sleep of 12-20 year olds – sufficient sleep also vital to good wellbeing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLXX8wzvT7c : a You Tube talk about making relationships work. Children/teenagers need to see healthy relationships in their parents, this gives some interesting (& scientifically proven!) tips on what you can do.

https://drinkwise.org.au/: Gives good advice and tips around teenage drinking

Good thinking – a teenagers guide to managing stress and emotion using cognitive behavioural thinking. By Sarah Edelman & Louise Redmond

Politically incorrect parenting. By Nigel Latta

****ReachOut Breathe: helps reduce the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety by slowing down breathing and heart rate with an iphone or apple watch. Dr Carr-Gregg described it as being a great tool when a child is having a hyperventilating type tantrum.
****ReachOut WorryTime: this one is for those who can’t shut down the worries in their head and which start to impact on everyday life. It interrupts repetitive thinking by setting aside worries until later so you don’t get caught up in them and can get on with the day. This app helps deal with your worries once a day instead of carrying them around 24/7.

Smiling Mind: a meditation app designed to assist people dealing with the pressure, stress and challenges of daily life.  Age appropriate options are available from 7 years through to adults.

Some really great and practical resources there that we hope you find useful. Other points stressed by Dr Carr-Greg throughout the evening:

• No social media for children under 13  (children under 13 do not have the social/emotional capacity to deal with the consequences)
• One hour of green time for every hour of screen time (ie as much time outside as they are on screen)
• Highly recommends no screens Monday to Thursday

Dr Carr-Gregg also identified 4 signs to look for in children who may be at risk of mental health issues:

  1. Peer relationships: are children able to make and maintain friendships easily
  2. Areas of competence: do children have areas of interest/love/excellence? eg dancing sport, drawing, music – what is their spark?? what makes them get out of bed each day?
  3. Independence: are chidlren able to cope with separation from their aprents, not being reliant on them being part of all activities and social interactions?
  4. School/vocational aspiration/hope for the future: are children hopeful of a positive future?

Thanks to all who came, the super turn-out has inspired us to keep the sleeves rolled up and working hard to improve wellbeing and mental health in the Upper Hunter.