Media Release: 14 September 2016

Australia is facing major challenges and psychology can help find solutions, according to APS President Professor Michael Kyrios who will launch psychology’s response to the big issues of the 21st Century at the Australian Psychological Society Congress in Melbourne, 13-16 September.

As part of his Presidential Initiative, Professor Kyrios has chosen to focus on community wellbeing, social cohesion and climate change because of their significant impact on mental and physical health as well as Australians’ sense of security, safety and inclusion – feeling part of a supportive community.

The initiative recognises that larger social factors are at play which need a policy response as well as local and individual action.

“Psychological science can help us understand these problems and suggest solutions. For example, we know a lot about what divides people and makes them feel marginalised so there are many practical steps we can take to reduce people’s fear of one another and mend tears in the social fabric,” Professor Kyrios says.

“Likewise our understanding of what motivates people and how people respond to global issues such as climate change can be used to devise effective responses that engage people in mitigation and adaption and ensure that fear doesn’t result in anxiety and paralysis.”

He added: “We are living in an increasingly complex world where global events affect us. Whether it is terrorism or climate change, it is easy to feel that many of the factors that affect our lives and wellbeing are beyond our control.   Psychology has a role in helping Australians and our Government to navigate these challenges.”

- Ends -

Notes to editors:  Professor Kyrios will launch the discussion document The Contributions of Psychology to the Big Issues of the 21st Century at the Congress, Wednesday 14th September Find the document here: http://www.psychology.org.au/public_interest/big-issues/

For more information, or to arrange an interview call Rebecca Matthews on 03 8662 3358 or 0435 896 444, Karen Coghlan on 0411 930 512 or email media@psychology.org.au.  Find the APS Media team on Twitter:  @AustPsych.

The APS is the largest professional organisation for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 22,000 members. The APS is committed to advancing psychology as a discipline and profession. It spreads the message that psychologists make a difference to people’s lives, through improving psychological knowledge and community wellbeing.