Journal of Applied Youth Studies v.2 n.2 September 2017

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The feature article in the September 2017 issue of the Journal of Applied Youth Studies surveys the wellbeing of young people in Bhutan, a country famous for its measurement of Gross National Happiness. Are Bhutanese young people happier and/or healthier than other young people as a result of this national focus?

Editorial

by Rob White

ARTICLES

Substance use, mental health and sexual behaviour of college students in Bhutan
by Kezang Sherab, John Howard, Sherub Tshomo and Karma Tshering

The Kingdom of Bhutan is often characterised as “the last Shangrila”, and has adopted “Gross National Happiness” (GNH) as the foundation of wellbeing and development. Exposure to other lifestyles and values have been embraced by many young Bhutanese, creating tensions with traditional culture and values; much of this associated with concerns about substance use, sexual behaviour and mental health. This study employed a self-administered survey in eight college campuses across Bhutan (N = 2471) of substance use, mental health and sexual behaviour among the college students, and is the first of its kind. The findings indicate that substance use among the college students was low, mental health concerns were identified by about 10%, and sexual risk behaviour by over 50% of sexually active students. This paper presents recommendations to relevant stakeholders to address the issues identified to progress the vision of GNH.
Key words: Bhutan, college students, substance use, sexual orientation, sexual behaviour, mental health

Do immersion tours have long-term transformative impacts on students? A study of Australian university students in a Tibetan host community in India
by Jen Couch and Nichole Georgeou

Immersion tours place a student in an unfamiliar context with the purpose of inducing a change in their worldview. While the literature on immersion tours indicates that, on the whole, students have a beneficial experience, the claims that such experiences are “life changing” are untested. This article examines one cohort of Australian university students who visited the Tibetan community of Dharamsala in India in 2008 and whether the immersion was a transformative experience for them in the long term. While initially most students claimed to have been greatly changed by the experience, five years later none felt that the experience had been truly transformative. This conclusion highlights the need to be sceptical of claims that outbound mobility will transform all students’ lives.
Key words: Immersion, transformation, outbound mobility, Freire

Whakapiri–Whakamarama–Whakamana: A reflective framework for connection, participation and change
by Nicola A. Hurst

As youth development in Aotearoa New Zealand is enhanced by professionalisation and becomes more common and visible, practitioners are required to become more considered, evidence-based and transparent. Building upon lessons learnt from similar therapeutic professions, this article briefly explores the challenges existing fields have had in moving beyond the idea that the practitioner knows best. It suggests the benefits of reflective practice and proposes the use of a model developed in Aotearoa in order to ensure intentional practice and authentic participation. The Whakapiri–Whakamarama–Whakamana model is introduced as a framework for reflection, both in the moment and post-session. It explores opportunities to use this model to measure the effectiveness of our practice to support connection and empowerment of taiohi/young people in Aotearoa and meet the challenge we all face in aligning to the principles of the Youth Development Strategy of Aotearoa.

Key words: youth development, reflective practice, framework, YDSA, New Zealand Aotearoa

Case management and post-release young people
by Joel Robert McGregor

Case management plays a central role in the control of young people who participate in crime and then re-integrate into the community. In the course of their work, case managers must negotiate complex interpersonal relationships with their clients. These relationships mean that the case manager will often become both a confidante and friend to their client while fulfilling their role as a mandatory governmental reporter. This paper draws on qualitative interviews conducted with case managers working with post-release young people, to critically investigate the practices of case management. The paper also draws on Foucauldian notions of disciplinary power to interrogate the interpersonal dimensions of case management in the context of the government of welfare. In this regard, the article proposes that to work effectively with post-release young people, case managers must establish a relationship of trust with the client, and exercise discipline through the interpersonal technique of friendship.

Key words: youth justice, case management, youth support programs, Foucault

Highly vulnerable teens: A social justice imperative
by Catherine Robinson

In 2016–2017, the Social Action and Research Centre (SARC), Anglicare Tasmania, undertook to investigate and document why and how some teens in Tasmania come to experience extraordinary trajectories of high vulnerability from early childhood into adolescence. The research explores the life histories of a cohort of teens (aged 10 to 17 years) whose needs for care have fallen outside families, between government agencies and between non-government services. This paper introduces some of the findings of that investigation and considers both contexts of individual vulnerability and available support systems and services. It unravels the fundamental paradox that those most vulnerable – both developmentally and in terms of the layers of adversity they experience – seem to be, at best, retained and, at worst, entrenched in vulnerability. As such, young people’s experiences of high vulnerability are framed as a key social justice imperative for Tasmania.

Key words: social justice, Tasmania youth, support services, vulnerability, homelessness, care

PROJECTS AND PRACTICE

The role of civil society in supporting the settlement and integration of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in Australia: MYAN Australia’s National Youth Settlement Framework
by Nadine Liddy

This article explores the role of civil society in supporting the settlement or integration of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in Australia, through highlighting some of the work of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN Australia). It emphasises the importance of a targeted approach to addressing the needs and building on the strengths of young people in countries of resettlement, with a focus on the MYAN’s National Youth Settlement Framework. It also highlights the fundamental place of youth-centred and participation approaches to supporting young people to realise their potential in the integration context.

SPOTLIGHT

Amanda McKenzie
Interview by John Cianchi

Amanda McKenzie was National Director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) between 2006 and 2009, where she helped build a non-partisan movement of young Australians to tackle climate change. The organisation now has more than 120,000 members across the country. In this abridged and edited research interview, Amanda reflects on her part in establishing the AYCC, and the role of young people in the climate movement. Amanda is now the CEO of the Climate Council. In 2009 she was named the Environment Minister’s Young Environmentalist of the Year and Rotary Young Achiever of the Year.