Expert Comment On "youth Crisis"

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24th September 2008, 01:30pm - Views: 889





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EXPERT

COMMENT


Media and

Communications


Tel. +61 3 9925 3176

Fax +61 3 9662 2739





Visit RMIT University’s online magazine, Openline, at www.rmit.edu.au/news.

For a listing of RMIT University experts, go to www.whatson.rmit.edu.au/experts.


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–– Expert comment on “youth crisis” ––


Landmark research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies has shown one in

five Australians in their mid-20s has a serious mental or physical health problem,

with about 40 per cent showing severe signs of problems including depression,

anxiety, anti-social behaviour or illegal drug-taking.


Professor Judith Bessant, Head of RMIT University’s Youth Work program, says

re-examining the ways we have come to see and think about our youth is crucial to

supporting them through their difficulties.


“Young people are not a different species,” Professor Bessant said.


“Young people, like older people, worry about things that older people worry about

– our looks, work, friendships.  


“Older people, like young people, use drugs, sometimes do silly things they later

regret, feel insecure, and sometimes experience angst about their identities.  


“If the way we see young people is a problem, the first step towards solving it is to

stop seeing young people as different from ‘us’ and focus on what we have in

common.”


Professor Bessant said surveys and research on youth could be misinterpreted to

back the view that young people are a “problem” to solve.


“At regular intervals we hear stories of problematic young people who are deviants-

cum-victims, anti-social difficult and different,” she said.


“’We’ are alright; ‘they’ are the problem, with their irresponsibility and risk taking.  

 

“Such arguments highlight a major adult blindspot, for as we’re currently seeing, it’s

‘responsible’ adults that have allowed the high risk, irresponsible and unregulated

monetary transactions that have caused a near global financial meltdown that

threatens the livelihood and jobs of millions across the world.”


Professor Bessant has made significant contributions to youth policy, via

government taskforces and her own research papers, and her research interests

include the just treatment of young people and ethical conduct towards them.


She is available for comment on the “youth crisis” and issues related to the

Australian Temperament Project.


For interviews: RMIT University’s Professor Judith Bessant, 0413 551 505.


For general media enquiries: RMIT University Media and Communications,

Gosia Kaszubska, (03) 9925 3176 or 0417 510 735.

24 September, 2008






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