Supporting students experiencing anxiety and mental distress

Tuesday 27th March 2018

Event Details

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems experienced by young Australians. Overall, about half of people with anxiety experience their first symptoms by the age of 11 years. Depression, self -harm and suicidal behaviour are also common co-morbid symptoms of anxiety. This phenomenon alone brings to light the responsibility of professionals working with this cohort and importance of them to become aware and responsive to the first signs and symptoms that a young person is in distress.

The presentation will explore what anxiety and depression are and which life factors can contribute to the development of these conditions. Understanding what the common symptoms of anxiety and depression are is essential in being able to recognise them alongside identifying and what to do if someone is self-harming or thinking about ending their life. The presentation will also discuss how to access professional help and treatment and how to normalise this step for a distressed young person.

This event includes afternoon tea.

Guest Speakers

Jessie Booth

Youth Access Clinician | headspace Chatswood | National Youth Mental Health Foundation

Jessie Booth is a Provisional Psychologist and professional facilitator with degrees in communications and psychology. Within the last decade she has worked as an outdoor education instructor and facilitator with Outward Bound Australia, working mainly with young adults. Since then, Jessie has broadened her skills and client base and works as a group facilitator and therapist in the corporate sector and with adults. She has published and presented research on the psychology of resilience and coping strategies in young people. Qualified as a Provisional Psychologist, she is currently working at headspace as a Youth Access Clinician. Jessie aims to continue to bring her skills as a Psychologist back into the field of Adventure Therapy working therapeutically in wilderness environments.

Sue Carlson


Sue Carlson is a registered psychologist, a member of the APS College of Educational and Developmental Psychologists and the APS College of Counselling Psychologists. Sue has worked in a wide cross-section of schools – from Kindergarten through to High Schools in both private/independent and public school settings. The topic of anxiety has been a key focus of her work both in the school as well as in private work areas. Sue has presented widely on the topic to specialist teachers in the Independent Teach Association, in schools to parents, teachers and series of weekly sessions with class groups and to community groups such as KYDS/Ku-ring-gai Council Parent Forums.

David Lindsay

Head of Senior College, St Andrew’s Cathedral School

David has been the Head of Senior College at St Paul’s Grammar School and now at St Andrew’s Cathedral School for a total of 13 years. He has been teaching for 25 years. Working with pastoral staff, parents and other professionals has given him many insights into possible approaches for individual students, given their personal situations. With several family members living with anxiety that has affected their education, David brings personal experience to the table.

Penni Maher

Director of Specialised Learning, St Andrew’s Cathedral School

Penni leads a dynamic K-12 team of specialist educators and psychologists at St Andrew’s Cathedral School. She is responsible for determining school-based adjustments for students with anxiety disorders, and coordinates the Disability Provisions applications for the HSC. In this work, she liaises with teachers, school executive, external specialists, families and the students themselves. She collaborates with experienced and capable school psychologists. Together they support and advocate for greater awareness and understanding of the presentation and impact of mental health concerns in children and adolescents.

Dr Colin L. Yarham

Chief Executive Officer of NGO ‘Health Education & Promotion International Inc.’ | ACE Life Member

As Adjunct Professor of Teacher Education in Tamil Nadu and a Director of the iconic 116 year old Kodaikanal International School in South India, Colin has been a highly committed advocate of Health Literacy through health promotion for school children and has tirelessly led the efforts of HEPI in some 20 different countries in pursuit of health behaviour change. In the capacity of consultant at the World Health Organisation HQ in Geneva as well as the Health Science Centre of the University of Texas at Houston, Colin has worked with committees of UNESCO, UNICEF, NCERT (Delhi) and ACHPER (Adelaide) in school and youth health education, prevention of cardiovascular disease, AIDS, STDs, risk management and other global health issues and programs.

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