About the Resilience Building Toolkit project

The 5 year Resilience Research project was developed by Central Queensland University in partnership with Education Queensland’s Transition Support Service (TSS) in response to increased suicide risk identified in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who transition from remote Cape York and Palm Island communities for secondary education through boarding schools. The project was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council from December 2014. The project aim was to investigate the impact of the STEP UP interventions in schools on increasing students’ levels of resilience.

As part of the research project we held an annual schools and community meeting. Information and ideas gained from these meetings were used as part of the development of the 6 domains.

The 6 Domains featured in this toolkit are the guiding framework informing a STEP UP action plan. A STEP UP action planning document is used by school staff to audit their practice against the 6 domains and identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth.

If you wish to utilise this framework or any of the planning tools, the following resources can be used.

Langham, E., McCalman, J., Redman-MacLaren, M., Rutherford, K., Britton, A., Wenitong, M., Hunter, E., McGorry, P., Bainbridge, R. (in press). Sources and expressions of resilience in a sample of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian boarding students: a confirmatory factor analysis of the Child and Youth Resilience. Frontiers in Public Health special resilience edition.

Jongen, C., McCalman, J., Bainbridge R (in press). Instruments to measure the resilience of Indigenous adolescents: A systematic scoping review of the literature. Frontiers in Public Health special resilience edition.

Jongen, C., McCalman, J., Bainbridge R (in press). Interventions to promote the resilience of Indigenous adolescents: A systematic scoping review of the literature. Frontiers in Public Health special resilience edition.

Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Tessa Benveniste, Erika Langham, Janya McCalman, Richard Stewart, Amelia Britton, Katrina Rutherford, Roxanne Bainbridge (in press). Through the eyes of students: The satisfaction of remote Indigenous boarding students’ with a transition support service in Queensland, Australia. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education.

Marion Heyeres, Janya McCalman, Erika Langham, Roxanne Bainbridge, Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Amelia Britton, Katrina Rutherford, Komla Tsey. (2017). Strengthening the capacity of education staff to support the wellbeing of Indigenous students in boarding schools: A participatory action research study. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 1-14.https://doi.org/10.1017/jie.2017.42

Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Helen Klieve, Janya McCalman, Sandy Russo, Katrina Rutherford, Mark Wenitong, Roxanne Bainbridge (2017). Measuring resilience and risk factors for the psychosocial wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boarding school students: Pilot baseline study results, Frontiers in Public Health 2(5).doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2017.00005.

McCalman, J., Bainbridge, R., Redman-MacLaren, M., Russo, S., Rutherford, K., Hunter, E., and Wenitong, M. (2017). The development of a survey instrument to assess Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ resilience and upstream risk factors for self-harm. Frontiers in Public Health. 2(19) doi: 10.3389/feduc.2017.00019.

Marion Heyeres, Janya McCalman, Roxanne Bainbridge, Michelle Redman-McLaren (2017). Staff capacity development initiatives that support the wellbeing of Indigenous adolescents in their transitions to boarding school: A systematic review. Frontiers in Education. DOI: 10.3389/feduc.2017.00001.  

McCalman J, Bainbridge R, Russo S, Rutherford K, Wenitong, M., Tsey K, Shakeshaft, A., Doran, C., Jacups, S. (2016) Psycho-social resilience, vulnerability and suicide prevention: impact evaluation of a mentoring approach to modify suicide risk for remote Indigenous students at boarding school.  BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1-12. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2762-1.

Student Artwork
Strong and Deadly by Venus Watson

This etching artwork is designed by Miss Venus Watson, a Year 12 student with a hearing disability from Palm Island. This artwork represents the strengths that she had and that she believes students need to exist, live, survive, be engaged and be happy at boarding school, away from kin and country.

"Hello, my name is Venus Watson. I am also known as Venus Lawrence as this is the surname registered on my Birth Certificate. I come from Palm Island. My artwork titled Strong and Deadly is scratch art and expresses resilience or the strengths I draw on to be strong and deadly at boarding school. The Rainbow Serpent is my guardian spirit and creator with great powers and he is wrapped around the Aboriginal Flag which represents my pride and identity as a young Aboriginal woman. The footprints represent my life journey and on this journey I carry with me my culture represented by the artefacts - boomerangs, totems - goanna, the flower and water symbols, all represent the importance of land and sea to me which comforts me and gives me hope for the future. Finally the connections I have with others and most importantly my family. - Venus."