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Professor Lea Waters: 0432 689 547 @ProfLeaWaters
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A registered psychologist, Professor Waters was recognised for her contribution to the youth mental health field and her leadership in establishing the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Waters, who has been sharing the benefits of positive psychology for almost 20 years, said she was deeply honoured and affirmed by the award.
“It is wonderful to see the role of women recognised and the positive ripple effect of these women in society,” Professor Waters said.
"For me, youth mental health is critical and I am eager to use this award to help raise public awareness. My aim is to ensure every young Australian is taught wellbeing skills at school. We need to educate our students about their mind and their heart.”
Suicide is the number one cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 25 years old. 25 per cent of young Australians experience symptoms of mental illness and 40 per cent of school students report that they worry a lot.
“The work we are doing at the Centre for Positive Psychology has a preventative health approach. We are working with schools all across Australia to support the wellbeing and learning of young Australians,” Professor Waters said.
“We have also recently developed the 'Wellbeing Profiler' that allows schools to measure the wellbeing of all students.”
Professor Field Rickards, University of Melbourne Dean of Education, said that the University’s investment in the Centre recognises how important positive psychology is to the education sector.
“The emerging discipline of positive psychology is helping to prepare children and young people to live flourishing lives,” Professor Rickards said. “There is already evidence that its uptake uptake by schools is having impact not only on students, but their teachers as well.”
In its fourth year, the 100 Women of Influence Awards celebrate outstanding women across Australia, with candidates judged on their demonstrated vision, leadership, innovation, action and impact in and beyond their field.
More information about Professor Waters
Professor Lea Waters (PhD) holds the Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology and is the Director of the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne.
As an international recognised expert in positive psychology and organisational change, Professor Waters works enhance the mental health of children, adolescents, parents and employees through positive psychology.
Professor Waters is a registered psychologist (AHPRA), a full member of the College of Organisational Psychologists and received an Australian University Individual Teaching Excellence Award from the Prime Minister in 2007. She is also an advisory board member for the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and holds affiliate positions with Cambridge University's Wellbeing Institute and the Centre for Positive Organisations at the University of Michigan.
Professor Waters was the first Australian to be inducted as a Fellow with the International Positive Psychology Association and recently delivered a TEDx talk.
She is currently writing her first book 'The Strong Child: Building Resilience, Optimism and Achievement,’ which will be published in Australia/New Zealand through Random House, in the United States of America through Penguin Press and in the United Kingdom through Scribe Publishing.
More information about the Centre for Positive Psychology
The Centre for Positive Psychology works to advance the science and practise of wellbeing for students, teachers and education systems (primary, secondary and tertiary) through the application of positive psychology.
It is conducting research into three levels of analysis for positive education: positive students, positive schools and positive systems.
The Centre plays a major role in supporting researchers and teachers to implement the new National Curriculum’s requirement that all Australian students must be taught in ways that develop social and personal skills.
Since it began delivering postgraduate courses in 2013, the Centre has had over 1,200 students.
The Centre is internationally recognised as being at the forefront of positive education and acts as a ‘research hub’ attracting world leading academics through its visiting scholars program.