Wellbeing & Resilience Projects

This section provides a brief description of some of the research projects involving Bounce Back! the award-winning wellbeing and resilience program.



64% of the KidsMatter schools that chose a social and emotional learning program, chose Bounce Back!


KidsMatter is an Australian Primary Schools Mental Health Initiative. It aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children, reduce mental health problems amongst children, and achieve greater support for children experiencing mental health difficulties, and their families.


A comprehensive evaluation of KidsMatter Primary in 101 schools across Australia was conducted by Flinders University of South Australia. The findings show KidsMatter Primary had a positive impact on schools, children, parents and carers.


Key findings include:


  • Improved student mental health and wellbeing such as optimism and coping skill       
  • Reduced mental health difficulties such as emotional symptoms, hyperactivity, conduct and peer problems
  • Improvements in students’ school-work
  • Improved teacher capacity to identify students experiencing mental health difficulties
  • Improved teacher knowledge on how to improve students’ social and emotional skills


For more information click here.



Bounce Back in Bush-fire Affected Schools
in Victoria

In 2010, the the Bushfire Psychosocial Response Unit of the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood (DEECD)  offered schools in the seven regions of Victoria that were affected by the Black Saturday bushfires the opportunity to participate in one of 9 Bounce Back! training workshops conducted by Toni and Helen. Teachers, senior staff and support staff from more than 40 schools and five school support centres participated in these workshops.  Helen and Toni are currently evaluating the effectiveness of these workshops and follow-up support with RMIT University. 



Bounce Back!  in Scotland

Lots of schools in different regions in Scotland are implementing Bounce Back!

The roll out of Bounce Back! in Scotland was first supported by the Scottish Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing funded by the Scottish Government. The Director, Dr Carol Craig invited Toni to introduce the Bounce Back Program to teachers in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Stirling. 

A team of educational psychologists in Perth and Kinross, Sarah Axford, Kirsty Blyth and Rita Schepens, have spearheaded the implementation of Bounce Back in many schools in their area. They conducted research over two years on the implementation of Bounce Back in 16 of these schools.  Their report on this project is titled: Can we help children learn coping skills for life? A study of the impact of the Bounce Back programme on resilience, connectedness and wellbeing of children and teachers in sixteen primary schools in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Toni presented a paper on these findings with Sarah, Rita and Kirsty at the 2010 European Positive Psychology Conference held in Copenhagen.



Silver Medal for a Community Based Project
in Scotland

The Bounce Back program was awarded a Silver Medal in 2010 for the Perth and Kinross Council Awards for a community-based project. Video clip of award-winning entry.



Joint Research Project

An evaluation of Bounce Back

A joint project was conducted by Drug Education section of the Department of Education in Victoria and the Faculty of Education at Deakin University to evaluate Bounce Back. This study evaluated the effectiveness of an abbreviated version of Bounce Back! after fourteen weeks of implementation by the classroom teachers in  eight year 5 or year 6 classrooms across eight schools. The methodology used was a combination pre-test and post-test measures of learning & understanding, teacher observations, teacher rating scales, teacher interviews, student focus groups and teacher focus groups. The following results were identified after the 14-week implementation:


The students had learnt and understood the acronym with an average recall rate of 83%. They were significantly more able to correctly and spontaneously apply the core skills and understandings from the program to hypothetical scenarios. In particular they increased the number of times they suggested the use of specific rational and optimistic thinking skills. Students were also observed by teachers to spontaneously use many of the skills either in class or in the playground. Many students reported discussing and using skills and understandings within the family context. This trend was also confirmed by many parents in their comments to teachers.


The teachers reported that they now felt more confident about counselling students and that they had used the coping skills a lot in their own personal and professional lives.  They also reported that they had found the program easy to teach and very relevant and useful and that they would recommend it to colleagues.



Bounce Back! in Cambodia

The photos of the children with the bouncebacker toys are taken on a visit to the HOPE Orphanage for Children in Battambang in Cambodia. Toni worked with both the children and their teachers on her recent visit to the Orphanage. Each child in the junior primary classes made a bouncebacker toy using a photo of themselves. The toy is a visual prompt that when they feel ‘knocked down’ they can bounce back again.