Applied Social Psychologist, Educator & Speaker
Dr Helen Street is an applied social psychologist who has a passion for education and improving the mental health of Australians, young and old.
Known as an agitator, she challenges the norms and the zeitgeist of our social world in hope of building a better future.
Helen Street’s work exploring the wellbeing, engagement and motivation of young people has been presented internationally. She presents at schools, colleges and educational events; and writes regularly for educational publications including Western Teacher magazine and The Positive Times (www.positivetimes.com.au).
More about Helen Street:
Helen began her journey supporting youth wellbeing and mental health when she was awarded the Howard Morton Trust Scholarship to undertake a PhD at the University of Sheffield in 1994. During her time in Sheffield, she carried out research exploring motivation and social cognitive causes of depression. Her theory of Conditional Goal Setting explains how misunderstandings of motivation can lead to a lifelong vulnerability to depression and anxiety. Conditional Goal Setting theory has since become an internationally recognised theory and been applied to the understanding of depression in eating disorders, chronic illness and drug abuse.
In 1999, Helen moved to Perth to take up an academic position in the School of Psychiatry at The University of Western Australia. Soon after arriving in Perth, Helen and Neil Porter founded the Positive Schools Initiative which advocates for educational reform to better support equity, motivation and wellbeing in young people. At the core of The Positive Schools Initiative are The Positive Schools conferences which have become known as Australia’s leading mental health and wellbeing events for educators.
Helen has been a regular advisor to the Health Department of WA’s Centre for Clinical Interventions and the WA Association of Mental Health. She has presented regularly on TV, radio and in other media, including a year spent as the show psychologist for Channel Ten’s morning TV show The Circle.
Helen has also worked with schools and colleges around Australia and internationally with schools from more than 15 countries including England, Wales, Germany, Hong Kong, China and Singapore.
She has written four books including Standing Without Shoes (co-authored with George Burns) which contains a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Helen’s book Contextual Wellbeing – creating positive schools from the inside out has been praised by leading educators around the world.
Dr Helen Street talks about:
Putting wellbeing into context: Self-help and happiology is all around us in the form of books, programs, courses and word of mouth ideas. Yet, despite this growing fashion to seek happiness, we are an increasingly distressed nation of adults and children. Never has mental health been such a major issue and a major concern. It is time we understood wellbeing within the context of our lives rather than as an additional skill to be acquired. It does not matter how theoretically versed we are, we need to challenge and change the context of our school life, home life and working life, if we are to genuinely improve our wellbeing.
Motivation: Rather than ask how we can get ourselves more motivated, we need to ask how we can become motivated in the right way… Talks about the need to develop intrinsic motivation rather than rely on extrinsic rewards.
Engagement: How to increase engagement in learning in the classroom and/or at work and at home; and why it is important
Cohesion: How to develop cohesion in social settings – i.e. positive relationships and a sense of belonging; and why it matters.
Honesty and the development of trust: Everyone lies every-day to ensure they fit into society; so how can we learn trust and honesty?
Stress management: Why we need to stop building psychological armor and start living differently
Social Issues: Issues that impact on Mental Health eg advertising, social media, marketing, movies
Although many don't realise it, Dr. Helen Street is an important person in almost all our lives as she strives to research and implement crucial issues in the area of positive education. Even more than this Helen communicates her work in a wonderfully practical and applicable way. I very much encourage anyone interested in education and parenting to familiarise themselves with what she's saying because the more we all utilise her work the more we'll have happy and healthy children.
-Dr Tim Sharp, CEO, The Happiness Institute
...If you want someone who is going to challenge your preconceived ideas about education, learning and wellbeing, then listen to Helen Street.
-Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, adolescent and child psychologist
Helen is a pioneer for positivity in our schools. She asks the scratchy questions, challenges the preconceived notions and presents a fresh way of thinking. All this is backed up by her extensive informed research. Her presentations are poignant and oozing with thought provoking integrity.
-Steve Heron OAM, author and founder of BUZ schools’ programs
Helen Street captivated an audience of 1,300 conference delegates at Happiness & Its Causes 2016 with her erudite, informative and entertaining presentation. Helen is a consummate keynote speaker, able to communicate key message in a clear and concise way. Delegates also loved the use of humour and creativity in her presentation of important health messages. I’d have no hesitation in recommending Helen as a speaker for any event.