School counselling launches into cyberspace: An action research study of a school based online counselling service

Glasheen, Kevin J. & Campbell, Marilyn A. (2008) School counselling launches into cyberspace: An action research study of a school based online counselling service. In Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2008, 30th November - 4th December, 2008, Brisbane.

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Adolescent mental health in Australia is currently a major social issue. The occurrence of such disorders as depression and anxiety in the secondary school aged population has consequences both for learning capacity and emotional well-being. However, young people who experience mental health difficulties are reluctant to seek help through face-to-face counselling. This is particularly so for boys more than girls. Young Australian males have been shown to have poorer educational outcomes, more incarceration, illness and completed suicides compared with young females. This is happening at a time when technology is an integral part of young people’s social interaction. Young people use technology as an adjunct to face to face communication with their peers. They also seek health information and help through technology such as the internet. Sometimes they seek help only by technology. The potential for relative anonymity, which technology can provide, makes this medium a powerful resource for adolescents unwilling and hesitant to seek 'face to face' assistance. These facts challenge school professionals who work with this generation to use technology to assist students who need counselling help. This paper reports on an action research study in one secondary school where synchronous online counselling services were made available to the students. It outlines the process that was followed to implement this service. As the action of using online counselling progressed, the researcher gained insights, knowledge and skills which in turn informed subsequent developments for the innovation. Though the needs of the students who accessed the service were varied, the majority of clients considered their experience of online counselling as a positive interaction. Initial results suggest potential benefits, especially for boys, in incorporating online technologies into the current support methods already in place in schools.

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ID Code: 14910
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Educational counselling, young people, Internet
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Learning Sciences (130309)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2015 01:05

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