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Districts of Australia
Ronald Rapee AM is a professor and
researcher at Macquarie University,
NSW, as well as a member and former
chairman of the Australian Rotary
Health Research Committee.
Over the years, Ron and his team
at Macquarie University’s Centre for
Emotional Health have developed the
Cool Kids group of programs, which
help young people suffering anxiety
and related problems. Australian Rotary
Health recently provided funding to
test some new, online versions of
these programs, including the Cool
Kids Online program and Chilled Plus.
By moving these programs onto the
internet, far more young people across
Australia will have access to them,
including young people from rural and
The Cool Kids Online program is
aimed at young children who are
primarily suffering anxiety, while
Chilled Plus is aimed at teenagers who
suffer a combination of anxiety and
depression. Both of these treatment
programs focus on teaching young
people about setting goals, fighting
avoidance, thinking realistically and
managing emotions, as well as coping
Helping real people through research
Professor Ronald Rapee AM
To trial the effectiveness of these
programs, Ron has worked with many
young people, including one young
girl called Yasmina.
Yasmina, aged 14 at the time,
was brought in by her parents, who
expressed concern their daughter was
feeling sad, had trouble getting out
of bed in the morning and was not
performing as well in school.
After speaking with Yasmina, it was
found she had a long history of social
anxiety going back into her childhood.
Yasmina had always been worried
about what other people thought of
her and was very self-conscious, which
affected her ability to make friends
and engage in social activities. Her
lack of social interaction eventually led
to her becoming depressed and sad,
impacting her motivation and overall
interest in life.
Ron said Chilled Plus is designed to
help people like Yasmina, as anxiety
and depression are very common in
young people once they get to the
“The programs we developed are
based on teaching young people very
practical skills – skills that enable them
to overcome their worries and fears
and to get back to a high level of
functioning,” Ron said.
Preliminary analyses of these online
programs show they have been quite
successful so far.
“We’re getting very large numbers
of young people who have improved
and are in fact free of their anxiety and
depression at the end of treatment.
“It’s through funding
that we are able to
like this and show
that they work.
Ultimately, we are
going to be able
to help very large
numbers of young
people to get back
to happy, healthy
across Australia and
Lift the lid on mental illness
Last year, you may have heard of a new
event called “Lift the Lid on Mental
Illness”, when Rotary clubs across
Victoria were invited to get involved.
This mental health fundraising
campaign ran on the same day as Hat
Day and was a huge success.
Australian Rotary Health is excited to
announce that Lift the Lid on Mental
Illness will now be its official annual
national mental health fundraising
and awareness day, previously known
as Hat Day.
The two events have been
incorporated together, so we will still
be celebrating Hat Day, but just under
a different name.
This year, Lift the Lid on Mental
Illness will be held on World Mental
Health Day, October 10.
You can take part by hosting an
event with your friends or making a
donation. The aim of the day is to start
a conversation about mental health
and collect funds for desperately
needed mental health research.
Australian Rotary Health already
supports mental health research in
a variety of areas, such as anxiety,
depression, schizophrenia, eating
disorders and suicide prevention.
There is a long road ahead before we
can know all there is to know about
mental health. With more funding and
increased education, we will get closer
to reducing stigma and achieving our
overall goal to improve the health and
wellbeing of all Australians.
To do this, we need your help. Find out
more at www.australianrotaryhealth.
org.au or www.hatday.com.au. Keep
an eye on our official Facebook page
for updates www.facebook.com/
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