SMP Seminar Series - Semester 2, Week 12

Image: Luis Quintero, Pexels

Presentation 1: Voice or Vitriol: Exploring Predictors of Support for the Voice to Parliament Referendum in Australia

Speaker: Dr Olivia Evans is an Aboriginal (Gomeroi) woman. She was awarded a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Newcastle in 2019 and is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Australian National University within the School of Medicine and Psychology. Olivia’s research primarily focuses on the social determinants of health, and the psychology of inclusion and exclusion.

Abstract: The Voice to Parliament referendum was proposed to give Indigenous communities a route to help inform policy and legal decisions made by the Government. However, in the lead up to the referendum opinions polls tracked a steady decline in support for the “Yes” vote. During this time prejudice towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had been increasing among a small but vocal minority in Australia. In this seminar I will discuss the findings from a study that tracked this process of social change and predictors of support for the referendum in the general Australian population. Three waves of data (N ~= 2,252) were collected over the course of 6 months tracking people’s support of the referendum along with their perceptions of (1) fairness in Australian society, (2) prejudice towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and (3) fairness as an outcome of the referendum. I will discuss how each of these variables interacted as the campaign for the referendum unfolded and the implications of these findings post-referendum.

Presentation 2: ANU Community and Research Enhanced Support (ANU CaRES): A Proposal for Developing Research-based, Specialty Mental Health Clinics on Campus

Speakers: Professor Bruce Christensen is the Deputy Director and Head of Psychology in the School of Medicine and Psychology. He previously served as the Associate Dean (Culture and Wellbeing) in the College of Health and Medicine. He is a clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist, and cognitive neuroscientist with wide ranging interests in the causes and treatments of mental ill-health. His research interests also include university student wellbeing, effective research supervision, community development, mental health systems, and the support of healthcare practitioners. 

Associate Professor Anna Olsen is an Associate Professor of Social Foundations of Medicine at SMP. Her interdisciplinary program of research combines practical and critical approaches to public health, with a particular interest in marginalised populations and qualitative methodologies. She values collaborative approaches to research and has extensive experience working with government and community on evaluation and research projects.

Abstract: This presentation provides an overview a 1-year planning and consultation project to propose the development of specialty mental health research clinics on the ANU campus. Also considered is a longitudinal, cross-university study of student mental health and wellbeing. The project was conducted by a large and diverse group of academic and professional staff (all with interests in student/staff wellbeing) as well as community stakeholders and mental health consumers. The evidence and service needs underpinning the proposal were collected in a multipronged fashion and included a literature review, stakeholder consultations, focus groups, a discrete-choice conjoint survey, a citizens’ jury, and financial/economic modelling. The information emerging from these efforts and the proposed clinics and their community, clinical, and research benefits will be presented.