University of Adelaide Evaluation

Read about the positive outcomes experienced by young people participating in The Resilience Project school program throughout the COVID pandemic

The Resilience Project has an ongoing commitment to impact and ensuring the programs offered meet the needs of students, teachers and parents along with a strong focus on continual improvement.

Prior to COVID, the Mental Health Productivity Commission had identified that young people are disproportionately impacted by poor mental health and suicide and that a focus on prevention and early intervention was critical.

In Jan 2022, The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) released a report on The Indirect Impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on young people and Adolescence”. It reiterated that not only do we need to support young people in a preventative manner but also “highlighted the importance of schools beyond academic learning, where the social, emotional, and physical health of children and young people can also be supported”.

Acknowledging the challenges experienced by young people throughout the pandemic, The Resilience Project wanted to further understand the impact on their mental health and ensure the TRP school program best met the current needs of young Australians.

 

How was the evaluation conducted? 

Through the established partnership with Resilient Youth Australia, (RY) in which all schools that participate in The Resilience Project schools program are invited to complete the scientifically validated resilience survey on an annual basis. The University of Adelaide, led by Dr Mark Kohler, was then able to conduct an independent review, analysing and comparing the data collected from the schools that participated in The Resilience Project schools program in 2019, 2020 and 2021 (83,002 students) with those that did not participate (79,699 students). The key finding are detailed below:

Impact

Emotional Wellbeing

(2019 vs. 2021)

TRP participants maintained consistent emotional wellbeing and life satisfaction in contrast to those that did not participate in the program

Measure

Depressive Symptoms

Anxiety
Symptoms

Life
Satisfaction

TRP Students

Consistent

Consistent

Consistent

Non-TRP Students

Increased

Increased

Declined

Social Wellbeing

(2019 vs. 2021)

TRP participants experienced an increase in perceived support over the period from their peers and the wider school community. This differed to non-TRP participants, who experienced a steady decline.

Measure

Perceived School Support

Perceived Peer Support

TRP Students

Improved

Improved

Non-TRP Students

Declined

Declined

Physical Wellbeing

(2019 vs. 2021)

TRP students that participated in the program exhibited consistent levels of healthy behaviours in comparison to those students who were not involved in the program

Measure

Healthy
Eating

8 Hours Sleep
Most Nights

TRP Students

Consistent

Consistent

Non-TRP Students

Declined

Declined

Focus for the future? 

Further research will be done with the University of Adelaide to measure impact, relevance and explore ways to continually improve the program.

 

What contribution will this make?

Overall, this evaluation demonstrates the strong outcomes that can be achieved by proactively supporting young Australians in the school environment. Providing the tools and interventions to build resilience can significantly lower the risk of mental illness and buffer the negative effects of stressful life events. It also references the importance of taking a long term approach and that the ongoing provision of the program (across consecutive years) affords greater maintenance of wellbeing.

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key findings

Learn more about the findings in this printable PDF.

KEY FINDINGS - EXTENDED VERSION

For more detail on the outcomes of the evaluation, download this PDF.