Positive Change
Helping students create
Social & Emotional Skills
Meaningfully to the world

i-Connect (Secondary School)

i-Connect is a school-based, interactive multimedia intervention specifically developed through rigorous research to prevent feelings of loneliness and therefore to improve the mental well-being of young people. It is based on a systematic research program developed by Professor Stephen Houghton (The University of Western Australia) and Associate Professor Annemaree Carroll (The University of Queensland).  The research evidence is clear that adolescence is the peak period of high risk for loneliness with up to 80% of young people reporting feelings of loneliness at some time. Moreover, a significant percentage describes these feelings as persistent and painful. Of great concern is that if left unattended, loneliness has serious consequences for cognition, emotion, behaviour and a myriad of adverse physical, psychological, social and mental health outcomes. i-Connect is a Western Australian Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway) funded program specifically developed by The University of Western Australia and The University of Queensland to prevent and address feelings of loneliness. Using engaging and interactive graphics and activities, students work through three modules “Take Charge” and “Chill Out” and “Think Again”.

In “Take Charge” the aim is to develop the skills of friendship, valuing others, communicating well, and joining in conversations.

In “Chill Out”, students learning about the experiences of loneliness, inclusive conversations, virtual friends and chilling out.

The third module “Think Again” uses Cognitive Bias Modification methodologies. By changing the cognitive processes involved in young people’s interpretation of feelings of loneliness, their vulnerability and dysfunction to loneliness can be reduced and they become more optimistic and positive thinkers.

Each session within the modules takes only 15 to 20 minutes to complete and is self-directed and self-paced. The end of each session provides a quick recap for students to remember the key elements of the session. The program is evidence-based in that students complete pre- and post-test measures to ensure that gains are being made by involvement in the program.