[Sub ID 4287] Using neuroscience to increase wellbeing and employment skills (Pathways to Resilience Trust)

Submission ID: 4287
Organisation name: Pathways to Resilience Trust
Contact name: Mrs Anne Turnbull
State: QLD
Contact email: info@pathwaystoresilience.org
Contact number: 0731692400

Which priority group of the Try, Test and Learn Fund does your idea support?
Young parents, Young students at risk of long-term unemployment

What need or issue are you trying to address?
Young people at-risk of long term unemployment and welfare dependency face issues underpinned by a poor sense of identity and a deficit of skills to manage emotions and challenges. A lack of self-regulation, anxiety,depression and poor executive function skills resulting in significant impediments to learning are evident. An increased occurrence of drug taking and self-harm, coupled with an inability to stay engaged is common. Although these concerns are seen across the social spectrum, young people in low socioeconomic areas are especially vulnerable. They may have experienced disrupted attachment, resulting in hyper vigilant individuals who have low self regulation and a self expectation that they are not viewed as valuable and capable to the community. This compromises their sense of belonging and connectedness to peers, culture, community and, ultimately, their ability to gain and sustain employment. Compounding issues of caregivers with complex needs often result in poor modelling of behaviour, social skills and coping strategies thus, increasing mental health issues. This is often linked with disengagement and helplessness exacerbated by the lack of resilience and problem solving. High levels of ‘toxic stress’ can have a serious effect on brain architecture therefore, impacting the ability to learn and engage in work.

What is your idea?
Our idea is to use neuroscience and growth mindset to increase social and emotional wellbeing and resilience skills needed to engage in further education and employment. Poverty and the conditions that often accompany it have been shown to impact on brain function. Due to the way the brain is organised and operates, reduced functioning leads to increased risk factors,eg reduced functioning of the frontal lobe can allow the limbic system (in charge of the fight, flight, freeze survival reaction) to run the individual. The activation of this system in a chronic manner reduces the ability of an individual to learn or engage, as short-term survival – not long term life success – is the priority. For an at risk young person this means their capacity to learn, gain and maintain employment will be limited. Our program proposition is to empower young people through imparting knowledge on how their brain works and developing their soft skills so they have a greater sense of control over their emotions and can develop a learning mindset. Through increasing their sense of hope and resilience they will come to understand that who they think they are, or what they have been taught to believe about who they are, is not fixed.