The University of New England researchers Professor Myfanwy Maple and Associate Professor Sarah Wayland will oversee and evaluate a new initiative to reduce the impact of exposure to suicide in high schools.
Funded by the National Suicide Prevention and Leadership Support Program, the researchers will evaluate Seasons for Life, an education program supporting loss and grief.
Seasons for Life is part of the Seasons of Growth program, authored by Professor Anne Graham AO at Southern Cross University and led by MacKillop Family Services (MacKillop). MacKillop is a leading provider of specialist services for vulnerable children, young people, and families. The Seasons for Growth suite of loss and grief education programs is available in seven countries and has supported over 350,000 children, young people, and adults over 26 years.
Seasons for Life is based on the Seasons for Growth program and will engage students, parents, staff and community members in small-group sessions to support emotional wellbeing regarding loss and grief.
Professor Maple and Associate Professor Wayland will aim to collect real-time evaluation data as the program is delivered so that the data can inform the development and delivery of future programs in this space.
"Evaluations are usually retrospective, but this approach allows us to immerse ourselves in the program's development, introduction and delivery as members of the advisory committee. In addition, we will be assessing how the program works and who it works best for, incorporating reflections as we go. This will avoid any time lag and offer evaluation outcomes that have been identified from robust, pragmatic research methods."
The program is available to Australian secondary schools from all sectors at no cost.
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