Risk and protective factors video transcript
Speaker Dialogue

Text on screen and narrator

In Australia, 1 in 7 children have a mental health difficulty. And as a child grows, they face many challenges and there are many things that help or hinder their mental health and wellbeing. These are known as risk and protective factors.

Professor Stephen Zubrick (University of Western Australia)

There’s a lot of talk about risk and protective factors and their relationship to mental health difficulties. A risk factor is any exposure or circumstance that increases the likelihood of a mental health difficulty. And that’s in contrast to, protective factors which are, again, any exposure or circumstance, when present, decreases the likelihood of a mental health difficulty starting or if it’s present, diminishes the extent or severity of the mental health difficulty.

Teacher (leading class group)

Ok, we’re here doing circle time today and uh, there’s certain rules that we need to abide by, attentive listening, keep attention to those people who are speaking, one voice only, and we’re going to go through ,we’re going to hand out our discussion cards, ... We want to make sure this is a safe environment. ... These are safe cards there’s nothing that’s really personal but it’s something that may have happened in your life, as part of your life story.



Your school is a place where students spend over 30 hours every week. So it’s in a great position to promote their mental health and wellbeing.


By limiting risk factors and enhancing protective factors, your school is making a real difference to the lives of its students.

Subtitle:   Risk factors at school

Student 1


Some children might not want to come to school because uhmm of, bullies and they might not like their teacher and what they do at school.

Student 2


Maybe if kids put them down or they’re not treating them right or they don’t think they can do well in school, like they don’t think they’re good at maths, or something.


Phil (Teacher, Leighland Christian School, Burnie, TAS)



I think we’re being made more aware that we have to take on a role here to ensure that children are well. That ... they’re mentally able to function, uhmm, that their homes are a place where, you know, we ... can’t step into that home.  We can’t have a lot of input in there but we can actually use the hours we have at school to make sure that they’re ... building up in strength.




Protective factors at school

Student 1

I like my teachers because they, uhmm, support me whenever I feel down and lonely and they help me with my education and yeah.

Student 2


The teachers they ... help you with your work so that you’re, if you’re going to high school next year like I am, uhmm, you got your confidence ready for it. And that’s what uhmm, my teacher’s helping me with at the moment.  Confidence. And the teachers they’re also really good because I haven’t missed a day this year because I enjoy being at school with the teachers.

Phil (Teacher)

To suddenly see your student come alive to their learning because they’re not having to deal with the other aspect of life. And uh some things are just more important than teaching them how to write a cursive letter or, you know, two plus two equals four. You know, and it’s those moments were precious in a class that bring them all together. You know and sort of amalgamate what we’re trying to do.


And honestly, uhmm, most people would not remember a lesson taught at school but they will remember a teacher who sowed something into their lives and saw something, probably not what they were but what they could become. And so, that only comes from knowing the students, knowing where they’re at, knowing the sports they play, knowing the battles they’re facing and the situations they’re up against. And honestly, that’s where ... we gotta be at.