Happy Kids' Corner:  Internet Support for Kids

By Flavie Waters 

(Associate Professor of  Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Western Australia)

You may or not be aware that online help for psychological problems is increasingly being used as a new treatment option for many individuals in the community. These ‘internet-based interventions’ have been developed in response to the increase use of computers as a central aspect of many people’s lives.  Advantages include the facts that interventions are free of charge, anonymous, and may be accessed at any time of day or night. It also makes the treatment available to those living far away from specialist centres, or those too busy to find half a day to visit a therapist. The evidence for the efficacy of these interventions for treating psychological issues relating to anxiety and depression is actually extremely high. I will write a small article on type of internet interventions for adults in a separate issue of the P&C Bulletin, but I wanted to concentrate today on online support available to kids.


There was a really informative article by Marnie McKimmie in the West Australian (29 Feb 2012), which highlighted the fact that many teenagers are increasingly using online support when they are experiencing distress or mental health problems. For those of who didn’t see it, the gist of the article is the social media and internet are increasing becoming an obsession with teenagers, and that many leading youth health groups are now trying to reach troubled youths through outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and other chat rooms to advertise online help intervention, crisis chat-support, and even email- or text-support.  What is interesting is that young people have really taken to these online services, and the use of these services is on the increase, with a 602% rise in chat-room usage in the past 5 years.


The appeal for teenagers is two-fold: first, the advice is confidential and youth-friendly as it is provided by specialist youth-services. Second, it allows teens to make tentative enquiries about issues they might feel embarrassed to talk about with their families or friends. The anonymity feels safe, so that young people can get to the information they need in a fast and focused way. Common issues being discussed include friendships, bullying, stress, exams, relationships, drugs, as well as a range of psychological issues including eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.  It is clear that such services are in much demand, and are likely to develop over time with the fast-developing technological changes.


Obviously, we all hope that our children can turn to us when they face challenges in their personal lives. However, hormones during adolescence change children into young adults who strive for autonomy, and who resist help from parents.  What we can do is to understand that this change is inevitable, and be aware that such information is readily available and effective. We can tell our children that we are here if they want to talk to us, but that there is also online and telephone help line if they would like to talk to someone who doesn’t know them.


Here is the list of online and telephone support:

Eheadspace: www.eheadspace.org.au – Confidential, free, anonymous space where you can chat or email qualified youth mental health professional. The service is available 7 days a week, 1pm-1am.

Kids Helpline: kidshelp.com.au; chat to a councellor, or email: counsellor@kidshelp.com.au, Mon-Fri, 2-8 pm, Sat-Sun, 9am-7pm.

Lifeline: lifeline.org.au – crisis support chat for suicide-prevention. Mon-thur, 7:30-10:30, tel: 13 11 14.

Eating disorders foundation of Victoria: eatingdisorders.org.au. Recovery chat room open on Tues, thur and Sunday evening, message board included. Email contact is: help@eatingdisorders.org.au

 ReachOut.com: Inspires young people through tough times. It has lots of fact sheet and personal issues about a range of health and lifestyle issues

Orygen Younth Health: oyh.orgn.au. They make sure that young people have access to high quality mental health, and drug and alcohol, advice in a friendly and accessible way.

National Drugs Campaign: drugs.health.wa.gov.au. Information for young adults about illicit drugs, and provide details about where to get help.

Somazone: somazone.com.au – it focuses on health and lifestyle issues, and where to get help. Questions are answered by a team of health professionals.

E-Couch: echouch.any.edu.au – self-help program for anxiety and depression.

MoodGYM: moodgym.anu.edu.au – program that teaches cognitive-therapy skills for preventing and coping with depression.

The Black Dog Institute: blackdoginstitute.org.au – Assistance with depression.


 Acknowledgement: Marnie McKimmie @West Australian.

The Bulletin, the newsletter of the Deanmore Primary School P&C



22/05/2012 Posted in: Articles, Happy Kids' Corner

Disclaimer : The articles are of the opinion of the author only unless indicated otherwise. They are not written for individual advice. Please use your own discretion and make your own informed decisions about your situation.



An Evening with a Buddhist Monk

By Joyce Bok


It’s not every day where you get to sit around a small, intimate table with the Abbot and Director of the Buddhism Society of WA and fire any questions you like at him!  That was exactly what we did on the 10th of May.  Ajahn Brahm was invited to be a guest speaker with our small group of Psychologists and others who were interested in applying Buddhist principles in their psychological practice or life.    

 Ajahn reminded us about the power of positive psychology through his various entertaining, witty and humourous stories, all with a teaching point of course!  Some of the concepts which we received from the evening were: 

  •  Metaphorically, attaining the attitude of converting “shit” into useful fertilizer.


  • When addressing problematic behaviours in others, focus on their behaviour and not the person.  i.e.  The person is inherently worthy, it’s the behaviour which is the problem.


  • Noticing the 98 perfect bricks instead of the 2 crooked bricks in the wall.   Make an effort to focus on the many things that have gone right in our lives instead of just on the things that have gone wrong.


  • All events in our lives, including the negative ones, make us unique.  Thus, the accepting the things that have taken place in our lives.


Mindfulness-based therapies are now widely accepted and applied in psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapies.  These therapies have been heavily influenced by Buddhist practices, and come under many names such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy.  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy also incorporates ‘mindfulness’ values.





 Huxter, M. J.  (2007) “Mindfulness as therapy from a Buddhist perspective.”  In Einstein, Danielle A  (2007)  Innovations and Advances in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.  Bowen Hills, Qld.:  Australian Academic Press





Disclaimer : The articles are of the opinion of the author only unless indicated otherwise. They are not written for individual advice. Please use your own discretion and make your own informed decisions about your situation.