Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

An experienced mental health social worker and family therapist will speak at PLC Armidale’s 2023 Community Forum tonight on empowering parents to help kids struggling with mental health issues.

A consultant hired by Hunter New England Health to work with the clinicians in their Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) across the New England region, Dr Jenny Brown, says parents are ‘the missing piece of the puzzle’ when it comes to the wellbeing of young people.

PLC Principal Nicola Taylor said the college had identified the opportunity of bringing together keynote speakers, researchers and leaders in their respective areas to look at some of the emerging and current issues challenging girls and parents of daughters.

“We are focusing on factors that impact the growth and development of young women in an increasingly technological, disconnected, digital and highly sexualised world,” Mrs Taylor said.

During the evening, Dr. Brown will draw from her recently published research that shows what a difference is made when parents discover ways to adjust themselves to help their child’s recovery. Dr Brown acknowledges a need for professional support for struggling young people, but wants to empower parents to take the lead in their child’s wellbeing. 

“They develop agency, and out of that comes hope, and children do better.”

With 35 years of experience in family health and social work, Dr Brown’s passion has been thinking about family life and children’s development in the context of their environment. 

She says the dramatic rise in anxiety and depression in children began before COVID and attributes much of this to time-poor and stressed parents, the rise of technology,  the necessity for both parents to work and the pressure that puts them under.

“Parents are feeling out of their depth more and they’re doubting themselves.”

At the PLC Armidale event ‘Adolescence: independence on steroids’ tonight,  Mrs Taylor says Dr Brown will present some big ideas about a different pathway to effective parenting. 

“Based on her research and Dr Murray Bowen’s family systems theory, she uses real examples to illustrate how parents recover their clarity and confidence and, in turn, help their children to grow into responsibly resilient young people,” Mrs Taylor said.

“Dr Brown will empower you to be crucial to your child’s well-being and know how to promote appropriate levels of responsible independence.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is a speciality service of the Hunter New England Local Health District Mental Health Services. It provides assessment and treatment for young people up to 17 years old or attending school and experiencing complex and severe mental health problems.

“I have been invited to help their clinicians know how to support parents and families more effectively as everyone knows, adolescent and child mental health services are under pressure,” Dr Brown said.

“The demand is high, and it’s very stressful. So, I am glad to have the opportunity to help clinicians in the area get some training and know how best to partner with parents and not keep parents sidelined.”

PLC Armidale’s 2023 Community Forum is on campus on tonight, tickets are $30 available at https://events.humanitix.com/2023-community-forum

The event will be live-streamed to allow access to those from across the region, with tickets just $20 to access the livestream.

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