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The nature of children’s health around the world is changing there is now a ‘new morbidity’ occurring, with obesity, anxiety, depression and suicide taking centre stage. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics over 560,000 Australian children and young people have mental health problems. We want our children to grow into happy adults, but the trouble is many of them are struggling to develop resilience that enables them to cope with making mistakes, accept failures and bounce back from adversity.

With warmth, intelligence and humour, Australia’s leading expert in how we develop children’s mental fitness Kari Sutton, works with associations, parents, and educators keen to develop greater resilience in the next generation. Believing that we’ve been waiting till problems arise before we begin building children’s resilience, and that this means we are constantly the ambulances at the bottom of the cliff, Kari illustrates why we need to rethink how we develop resilience in children.

Drawing from the science of positive psychology, interpersonal neurobiology and child development, Kari demonstrates how we can proactively foster our children’s mental fitness muscles and that this investment is equivalent to building protective fences at the top of the cliff to stop our kids from falling into the downward spiral of anxiety, depression and self-harm.

As a speaker, author and facilitator Kari provides parents and educators with evidenced based strategies and tools that significantly increase the likelihood of their children having higher levels of resilience and psychological wellbeing.


“Spellbound from the first words. Valuable, insightful and impactful, Kari drives a conversation about the role and importance of resilience in our children’s health and happiness. She leaves you with actionable tips to increase resilience in your own kids.”
Sara Hales, CEO and Founder, The Bold Effect

“Kari always hits the mark in terms of her enthusiasm and relevance to what her audience needs. She understands, and values, the hard work of schools and at our last conference she was extremely well received. I would highly recommend Kari – her presentations are a mix of engaging real-life stories and practical tools and strategies that teachers, and parents, can immediately implement. Thanks Kari we will have definitely have you back again.”
Brian Marsden, Deputy Principal – Teachers Conference Organiser

“Kari is a very engaging, positive person, whose friendly and approachable manner allows her to rapidly build rapport with delegates. Her presentation was informative, entertaining and thought provoking. A fantastic speaker, uplifting, motivating, I would easily recommend Kari as a speaker for any organisation and feel confident we will have her present again in the future.”
Heather Bennet, Australian Council for Educational Leaders

“What a fantastic presentation to kickstart our conference. I could tell the delegates loved it listening to the conversations at morning tea. Please continue to spread your important message. It should be mandatory for all parents and future parents – I felt like you were talking directly to me. I loved the ideas and tools and will definitely be telling my husband about them so we can use them with our kids. I could see how passionate and knowledgeable you are about kids’ mental health and making sure we start when they are little. I’d love to have you back again and will post links on our website so others can hear your message and see your work.“
Rachel, Early Childhood Conference Organiser Tasmania.


During Kari’s two decades of volunteering experience at Camp Quality, she recognised that despite the life-threatening illnesses these children were battling, they were remarkably positive. By contrast, back in the schools she was working in too many children struggled with depression, social anxieties and mental illness. Feeling confronted by seeing this contrast between such seriously ill children, who seemed so resilient, and well children, who struggled with their mental health, Kari’s thinking about the building blocks of mental health was challenged.
In “Building Kids Who Bounce” Kari reveals the protective factors and evidence-based strategies that contribute to the creation of resilient kids. She identifies how these easy to implement tools and strategies are the building blocks of mental fitness and resilience in our kids- and encapsulates how we, as significant adults in their lives, can help them develop mental fitness habits that prevent them from falling down the dark hole of anxiety, depression and self-harm.

Kari lets her inner scholar sparkle as she deconstructs cutting edge research from the fields of child development, neuroscience, interpersonal neurobiology and positive psychology to illustrate how we can become brain building superstars.
In “Brave Brains are Built not Born” Kari cuts through decades of childhood development research to outline what we can do to foster children’s healthy brain development and make them more resilient. Revealing practical science backed strategies and skills that adults can utilise to help children’s brains thrive, she shares the 7 best building blocks for brain development that parents, educators, and other people who care for kids, can immediately implement.

Have you ever wondered what your children really want from you? As parents, and other caring adults, we worry about messing things up. We long to do the things that matter, the things that will shape their futures in a positive way, the things that will stick with them and help them thrive in the uncertain future they’re headed into.
In “What Children Really, Really Want” Kari carves through the overwhelming amount of information to distil the top 10 things children really, really want from us, and equips us with practical concrete strategies and ideas we can easily embed in their everyday lives. In this day and age of “newer and bigger is better” Kari will remind us to look through children’s eyes and that it really is the simple things that make the biggest impact.

Early childhood services and professionals have a critical role to play in promoting children’s social and emotional health and well being. Therefore, it is crucial that early childhood professionals have the ability to maintain their own emotional health and well being. Educators’ positive attitude and influence creates a climate where young minds can learn and be challenged to reach their highest potential. If educators are to sustain themselves through times of change and contribute to the wellbeing of the sector, they first must identify strategies and tools they can use to increase their self awareness and enhance their resilience and well-being.
In “Put On your Oxygen Masks” Kari summarises the past two decades of research in positive psychology and to distil the top ten evidence-based strategies that maintain and improve wellbeing both personally and professionally. Participants walk away with a range of fun, practical tools and strategies, as well as easily obtainable resources that enable them to maintain their wellbeing as well as enhance the wellbeing of members within their educational community.

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