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National Psychology Week has now become an established event and every year in Australia November has become the high point for discussing psychology, psychological issues and for promoting the discipline and the profession, research, successes and concerns of nearly 22,000 APS psychologists across the country.
One of the reasons that the APS runs the National Psychology Week events is because they are such an effective platform for promoting psychology to society at large. National Psychology Week also demonstrates to the wider community that the APS is a trusted source of information about psychological wellbeing and stress. NPW 2014 was no exception and helped the APS fulfil its mission to advance psychology for its members and the community they serve.
APS Stress and Wellbeing Survey 2014
As with the previous three years, at the heart of NPW is the annual Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey. This is a state-of-the-nation survey which seeks to measure the psychological wellbeing and stress levels of Australians, in line with a number of carefully considered questions and criteria.
The latest survey focused largely on comparing how men and women experience stress and wellbeing, the stress of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and particular stressors associated with obesity. The main results of the Stress and Wellbeing Survey 2014 included the findings that showed that men are less stressed than women and have higher levels of wellbeing; that Australian workers identify work as a major source of stress; that Australians are working towards living healthier lifestyles; and that Australians with obesity experience lower levels of wellbeing.
Media coverage of NPW
The 2014 NPW media campaign focused on promoting the survey findings to the general public, raising awareness of the detrimental effects of chronic stress, encouraging Australians to identify sources of stress and adopt stress‑managing behaviours, increasing understanding of the role of psychologists in managing stress, and directing the public to the APS Find A Psychologist service.
NPW 2014 generated more than 500 individual pieces of media coverage, reaching an estimated audience of several million Australians and beyond. The stress gender imbalance survey finding resonated with media, and coverage of the survey was extensive, nationwide and featured on TV, radio, in print and online. The media also discussed Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing during NPW, with coverage on CAAMA radio, as well as in The Koori Mail, Nursing Careers Allied Health and on ABC radio’s Speaking Out program.
Social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, were used to deliver the findings of the NPW survey, as well as to promote and communicate the many NPW community events taking place across the country to a wide and diverse audience. Followers and engagement across all APS social media channels grew by over 180 per cent, with the NPW Facebook page as the standout, with more than 10,000 newly-subscribed followers. More than 5,000 people visited the NPW landing page on the APS website during the week.
NPW 2014 and the survey findings were also featured on top-rated online sites including News.com.au, smh.com.au and Guardian online. Online coverage also provided the NPW campaign with the largest estimated audience reach of several million people from 199 articles.
Coverage in traditional media was no less positive. The ABC News Breakfast featured past President Amanda Gordon and resulted in an estimated audience reach of 246,000. The Morning Show also broadcast the key stress survey findings to an estimated audience of 257,000. The campaign was also successful in print outlets, with print stories in more than 30 metropolitan and regional newspapers around Australia, generating an estimated audience reach of more than 1.6 million.
Although media coverage is an important component of National Psychology Week, the bread-and-butter of NPW is the events, predominantly organised, promoted and run by APS members. These events, involving good old fashioned face-to-face human interaction, are simply invaluable in taking psychology into the wider community.
Last November, NPW saw more than 500 events take place across the country, bringing psychology to local communities through a variety of ways, including morning teas, film nights, talks, yoga classes and question and answer sessions.
There were major events like the forum entitled ‘How research informs practice for psychological wellbeing and mental health in the community’ at NSW State Parliament, attended by NSW Premier Mike Baird MP and hosted by APS President Mike Kyrios. At the other end of the scale, information about psychology was handed out at a morning tea at Robertson Barracks in Palmerston in NT. And there was everything in between: A ‘Mental Health and the Police’ forum in Canberra, ‘Meet your school psychologist’ sessions at Montagu Bay Primary in Tasmania and a ‘Healthy Bonds: Healthy Relationships’ talk at the Judith Cottier Theatre in Perth.
These events are really effective in promoting the many benefits of psychology to Australians of all walks of life. The other aspect of these events that should be celebrated is the passion and commitment of APS members. The foundation of National Psychology Week is members who want to bring psychology to the people and, every year for the past 11 years that is exactly what they’ve done.
We are now looking forward to a bigger, better and even more successful National Psychology Week for 2015.