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7.30 Report -

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The show, at the National Museum, was shot by staff and students of the institute's communications
and media department. Goodnight. Supertext Captions by the Australian Caption Centre.
www.auscap.com.au In short, the Olympic Games are a fraud. Tonight - confessions of a
track-and-field Mr Big. What I'm here to tell you right now is that not only is there no Santa
Claus but there's no Easter bunny or tooth fairy either in the world of sport. The dealer, the
sprint queen and the trashing of the Olympic ideal. I still would give Marion Jones the benefit of
the doubt. There's some people who say you shouldn't even walk the streets of Wittenoom unless
you're wearing one of these. And - the lethal backwater that will not die. Is Wittenoom a dangerous
place? Yes. And it should be closed down? Wittenoom - the infamous asbestos mining town and the
locals who love it and refuse to leave. I won't leave. I've got no intention of leaving. This
program is captioned live. Welcome to the program. Maxine McKew with you for the next few weeks
while Kerry O'Brien takes a summer break. We start tonight with a story from Queensland and it
concerns the loss of a child. It's every parent's nightmare, but to be left wondering about the
particular fate of that child is even more difficult to bear. That's exactly what Bruce and Denise
Morcombe from Queensland's Sunshine Coast have been going through for the past 12 months. Tomorrow
marks the first anniversary of the disappearance of their teenage son Daniel. Although this is,
sadly, just one of hundreds of cases throughout Australia where a missing person is presumed
murdered, Daniel Morcombe's case is exceptional for the way the public has responded to calls for
help. Nevertheless, despite a massive search operation and a reward of up to $250,000, police have
found no trace of the teenager, as Peter McCutcheon reports. INTENSE MUSIC That's why we get up
each day, is to just wait for one phone call to say what's happened to Daniel or to find out who
these people were and what they've done. REPORTER: Have you ever seen anything like this before?
Never, and I don't think it's ever happened in Australia before. The abduction and suspected murder
of a child is a horrible crime that will always touch a public nerve. But there's something about
the disappearance of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe from Queensland's Sunshine Coast last year that
has prompted the public to respond like never before. The whole community has kept us going - you
know, every day we get cards, letters, we see the red ribbons, banners, posters, well-wishers.
That's what kept us going each day. A police appeal for information has prompted more than 10,000
calls from around Australia from locals and interstate visitors. Although a year-long investigation
has failed to find any trace of Daniel Morcombe, police are showing no sign of giving up. We have a
vast amount of information, and we're still investigating a great deal of it, and they're long-term
investigations - they're not things that can be done in a day or a week or even a month. Daniel
Morcombe was last seen waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on the Sunshine
Coast to go Christmas shopping on 7 December last year. A happy child with no reason to run away
from home, his disappearance was remarkable for the lack of any obvious explanation. As the days
passed, his parents' pleas for information became increasingly desperate. We both want Daniel home.
It's been seven days since he was last seen. It's a matter of urgency. Somebody must have seen him
somewhere. It's getting desperate. We need him back. SONG: # The coast is cryin' # This country's
united # In the search for a little boy # The parents' call for help led to a spontaneous community
campaign which continues to this day. The idea of a red ribbon to represent support for the
Morcombes came from the red T-shirt the teenager was last seen in. Whether it's the display of a
poster or free advertising, Bruce and Denise Morcombe continue to be amazed at the level of public
support. It's certainly drawn the campaign into something exceptionally large and very pointed, so
without the public's donations and business leaders helping us out, this never would have happened.
You'd have to say that's unusual for disappearances, even something like this, where a child
disappears for apparently no reason whatsoever. Media analyst Professor Graeme Turner believes the
massive public and media interest in the case can partly be explained by the determination of Bruce
and Denise Morcombe. And the other thing, I suppose, is that the police appear to have been very
sympathetic to that and have assisted much more than perhaps you would have expected in the past.
As Daniel's picture opened up, I just stopped and looked at that and thought, "What an angelic
face. "What a beautiful smile and beautiful eyes", and we all said to each other, "This is not
right. There's something different about this one." We felt that then, the day after. Senior
Sergeant Julie Elliott told the ABC's 'Australian Story' earlier this year how she was personally
moved by the case. But on the eve of the anniversary of Daniel Morcombe's disappearance, she has
her own explanation for the overwhelming public response. The fact that Daniel, a young boy going
to catch a bus - an innocent thing to do, go Christmas shopping - it was daylight, it was on a busy
road, and I think the very fact that he was abducted under those circumstances has touched such a
nerve in the community and they've just said, "It's a terrible thing. We're not going to stand for
it "and we're not going to be quiet about it." It has been over a year since our son Daniel was
abducted. This community service announcement is to go to air this week, highlighting what could be
a possible breakthrough in the investigation. Look at the sketches. Do you recognise this person?

Missing Daniel Morecombe

Looking for Daniel Morecombe

Reporter: Peter McCutcheon

MAXINE McKEW: Maxine McKew with you for the next few weeks while Kerry O'Brien takes a summer
break.

We start tonight with a story from Queensland and it concerns the loss of a child.

It's every parent's nightmare, but to be left wondering about the particular fate of that child is
even more difficult to bear.

And that's exactly what Bruce and Denise Morcombe from Queensland's Sunshine Coast have been going
through for the past 12 months.

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the disappearance of their teenage son, Daniel.

And although this is, sadly, just one of hundreds of cases throughout Australia where a missing
person is presumed murdered, Daniel Morcombe's case is exceptional for the way the public has
responded to calls for help.

Nevertheless, despite a massive search operation and a reward of up to $250,000, police have found
no trace of the teenager, as Peter McCutcheon reports.

DENISE MORCOMBE: That's why we get up each day, is to just wait for one phone call to say what's
happened to Daniel or to find out who these people were and what they've done.

PETER McCUTCHEON: The abduction and suspected murder of a child is a horrible crime that will
always touch a public nerve.

But there's something about the disappearance of 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe from Queensland's
Sunshine Coast last year that has prompted the public to respond like never before.

DENISE MORCOMBE: The whole community has kept us going - you know, every day we get cards, letters,
we see the red ribbons, banners, posters, well-wishers.

That's what kept us going each day.

PETER McCUTCHEON: A police appeal for information has prompted more than 10,000 calls from around
Australia from locals and interstate visitors.

Although a year-long investigation has failed to find any trace of Daniel Morcombe, police are
showing no sign of giving up.

INSPECTOR JOHN MALONEY, QUEENSLAND POLICE: We have a vast amount of information, and we're still
investigating a great deal of it, and they're long-term investigations.

They're not things that can be done in a day or a week or even a month.

PETER McCUTCHEON: Daniel Morcombe was last seen waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road
overpass on the Sunshine Coast to go Christmas shopping on 7 December last year.

A happy child with no reason to run away from home, his disappearance was remarkable for the lack
of any obvious explanation.

As the days passed, his parents' pleas for information became increasingly desperate.

DENISE MORCOMBE, DECEMBER 14 2003: We both want Daniel home.

It's been seven days since he was last seen.

It's a matter of urgency.

Somebody must have seen him somewhere.

It's getting desperate.

We need him back.

We want Daniel back.

PETER McCUTCHEON: The parents' call for help led to a spontaneous community campaign which
continues to this day.

The idea of a red ribbon to represent support for the Morcombes came from the red T-shirt the
teenager was last seen in.

Whether it's the display of a poster or free advertising, Bruce and Denise Morcombe continue to be
amazed at the level of public support.

BRUCE MORCOMBE: It's certainly drawn the campaign into something exceptionally large and very
pointed, so without the public's donations and business leaders helping us out, this never would
have happened.

PROFESSOR GRAEME TURNER, CENTRE FOR CRITICAL & CULTURAL STUDIES: You'd have to say that's unusual
for disappearances, even something like this, where a child disappears for apparently no reason
whatsoever.

PETER McCUTCHEON: Media analyst Professor Graeme Turner believes the massive public and media
interest in the case can partly be explained by the determination of Bruce and Denise Morcombe.

DR GRAEME TURNER: And the other thing, I suppose, is that the police appear to have been very
sympathetic to that and have assisted much more than perhaps you would have expected in the past.

SENIOR SERGEANT JULIE ELLIOTT, QUEENSLAND POLICE: As Daniel's picture opened up, I just stopped and
looked at that and thought, "What an angelic face.

"What a beautiful smile and beautiful eyes".

And we all said to each other, "This is not right.

There's something different about this one."

We felt that then, the day after.

Senior Sergeant Julie Elliott told the ABC's 'Australian Story' earlier this year how she was
personally moved by the case.

But on the eve of the anniversary of Daniel Morcombe's disappearance, she has her own explanation
for the overwhelming public response.

JULIE ELLIOTT: The fact that Daniel, a young boy going to catch a bus - an innocent thing to do, go
Christmas shopping - it was daylight, it was on a busy road, and I think the very fact that he was
abducted under those circumstances has touched such a nerve in the community and they've just said,
"It's a terrible thing.

We're not going to stand for it "and we're not going to be quiet about it."

DENISE MORCOMBE: It has been over a year since our son Daniel was abducted -

This community service announcement is to go to air this week, highlighting what could be a
possible breakthrough in the investigation.

From the earliest days of the case, police had received reports of a man or men seen near the bus
stop before Daniel's disappearance.

But only last month, investigators managed to narrow these reports down to three eyewitness
accounts and descriptions of the men.

And the public's response has again been impressive.

INSPECTOR JOHN MALONEY: The entire Queensland public and media are behind the Morcombes.

They want to see this matter solved.

They want to know what happened to Daniel.

That may seem little comfort for Daniel Morcombe's parents, his twin brother Bradley and his old
brother Dean.

But in their profound grief, Bruce and Denise Morcombe are determined to find out the truth about
what happened to their son.

DENISE MORCOMBE: We have to know.

I mean, Daniel's our son.

We brought him up.

We just can't let him be lying in some bushland somewhere.

We need to know where he is.

We have to be able to say goodbye properly.

Keeping up with Marion Jones

Keeping up with Marion Jones

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

MAXINE McKEW: To drugs in sport now, and the golden girl of the Sydney Olympics track, Marion
Jones, could soon be stripped of her medals, if claims by her former sports nutritionist prove
correct.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Victor Conte, the founder of the disgraced drug agency BALCO,
has accused his former client Marion Jones of taking performance enhancing drugs in the lead up to
the Sydney Olympics.

It's the second time the world's fastest woman has been accused of taking illegal drugs.

Now, in an exclusive interview with the American Broadcasting Corporation, Victor Conte goes a step
further and warns that there's a new designer drug available, thus confirming fears that drug
cheats remain one step ahead of the anti-doping agencies.

The question now is what will this latest drugs scandal do for the Olympic ideal, and can Marion
Jones possibly recover?

Alison Caldwell reports.

COMMENTATOR: Away.

Pretty good start for Jones.

She's in a winning position.

Jones clearly in front!

Look at the margin!

A fantastic performance!

10.75 for Marion Jones!

VICTOR CONTE, BALCO FOUNDER (AMERICAN ABC '20/20'): In short, the Olympic Games are a fraud.

Okay, it's like what I'm here to tell you right now is that not only is there no Santa Claus but
there's no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy either in the world of sport.

ALISON CALDWELL: He's the man at the centre of one of the biggest drugs scandals to rock
international athletics.

Already facing multiple charges of supplying banned drugs through his BALCO laboratory, Victor
Conte is now naming names - among them, the world's fastest woman, American track star Marion
Jones.

MARTIN BASHIR, JOURNALIST (AMERICAN ABC '20/20'): Are you saying that Marion Jones was a drugs
cheat?

VICTOR CONTE: Without a doubt.

MARTIN BASHIR, Do you admit to devising her program for drug use?

VICTOR CONTE: Yes, I do.

ALISON CALDWELL: Also named by Conte is Jones's partner and the father of her child, 100m world
record holder Tim Montgomery.

He is already under investigation by the US anti-doping agency.

Another Conte client, Marion Jones's former husband, shot-putter CJ Hunter, has also accused her of
taking performance-enhancing drugs.

SIMON ROFE, AUSTRALIAN NZ SPORTS LAW ASSOCIATION: When doping occurs, it's usually in a very small
group.

You have two members of that group - the drug supplier and her husband and admitted drug user -
both saying we were there when she did it.

It's gotta be pretty strong evidence.

JANE FLEMING, FORMER OLYMPIAN: I never really questioned her performances.

She obviously has some enormous ability.

And if you look at her frame physically, she is beautifully proportioned, and she has always had
good muscle tone and she's genetically advanced as far as her sport was concerned.

ALISON CALDWELL: The golden girl of the Sydney Olympics, Marion Jones won three gold and two bronze
track-and-field medals.

She insists she's never used performance-enhancing drugs, she's never failed a drugs test and she's
even passed a lie detector test.

JANE FLEMING: I think it's very sad if it's true, but we don't know whether it's true still and I
like to think that we give people the benefit of the doubt and I still would give Marion Jones the
benefit of the doubt.

ALISON CALDWELL: Victor Conte maintains that in the weeks leading up to the Sydney Olympics, he
provided Marion Jones with performance-enhancing drugs, including the then undetectable synthetic
steroid THG.

VICTOR CONTE: Put the needle on and she did the injection with me sitting here right next to her.

MARTIN BASHIR, Right in front of you?

VICTOR CONTE: Right in front of me.

JOHN MENDOZA, AUSTRALIAN SPORTS DRUG AGENCY: The legal regime has changed markedly since Sydney in
2000.

ALISON CALDWELL: Already, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and the world
governing body for athletics, the IAAF, have called for a full investigation.

Sports lawyer Simon Rofe says it's not too late for Marion Jones to be stripped of her Sydney
Olympic medals, despite the lack of a positive drugs test.

SIMON ROFE: The drug regime now allows drug offences to be proven, not just by a positive test
result, be it blood or urine, but also by admissions by whistleblowers.

And, indeed, what we're finding now is that that, increasingly, doping prosecutions are being based
on outside evidence - that's evidence outside the positive test results.

ALISON CALDWELL: A former athlete himself, Victor Conte set up the California-based BALCO
laboratories 10 years ago, supplying nutritional supplements to top athletes.

But Conte and his sporting clients only fell under suspicion after a used syringe containing traces
of a previously unknown synthetic steroid was sent to anti-doping authorities.

It became known as THG.

JOHN MENDOZA: It's a modified steroid but, importantly, it still has the anabolic properties, so
the whole plan that Victor Conte had basically developed was to enable people to get the benefit,
the performance benefit, particularly in strength and power events, but go under the radar of
detection.

ALISON CALDWELL: Victor Conte claims the drug cheats are still outwitting anti-doping authorities
with a new undetectable performance-enhancing drug.

VICTOR CONTE: The anti-doping rules that are in place are so easy for the athletes to beat, it's
like taking candy from a baby.

JANE FLEMING: I don't know whether there's that many ethical issues that athletes have about taking
a banned substance I think the biggest deterrent is getting caught and what that does to your life.

Marion Jones' life now would be horrendous.

JOHN MENDOZA: We can't stay ahead of the game, but we can stay as close to the game as possible,
and I think that's the challenge for us.

Importantly, we are working as an international collective rather than an individual agencies than
we were, say, at the time of the Sydney Games.

ALISON CALDWELL: In a statement released yesterday, Marion Jones maintains her innocence and says
she will sue Victor Conte for defamation.

Debunking these claims will surely be the biggest challenge of her career.

The challenge for international sporting authorities will be to catch up with the drug cheats, and
their inventive suppliers.

JOHN MENDOZA: There's no doubt we have a problem with drug use at the elite level in sport.

How extensive it is, the best we can do is put an educated estimate of around 5 per cent to 10 per
cent.

JANE FLEMING: I think that's the saddest thing.

Whenever you speak publicly now or even to schoolkids, the first thing they ever ask about is
drugs.

SIMON ROFE: The idea of the Olympic Games is the world elite competition at the highest level
amongst the best athletes, and what we are finding if this sort of evidence is coming out, that
there are definitely people who are prepared to cheat.

MAXINE McKEW: Alison Caldwell reporting there.

Witenoom's diehard residents stay put

Witenoom's diehard residents stay put

Reporter: Mick O'Donnell

MAXINE McKEW: While asbestos and the diseases it causes continue to make headlines, the town of
Wittenoom in Western Australia, where deadly blue asbestos was mined in the 1950s and 1960s, is a
place that continues to fight for survival.

Despite Government attempts to close down the remote town - attempts that have been under way for
30 years - a group of loyalists remain, determined to keep their homes.

The latest Government steering committee has recommended to the WA Cabinet that the 18 remaining
residents be encouraged to move out and that their homes be demolished.

Critics say even minute amounts of the deadly asbestos fibres are endangering both residents and
tourists.

But, as Mick O'Donnell reports, the residents believe there is no danger remaining from the mining
days.

MICK O'DONNELL: While you might imagine that Wittenoom, ground zero of Australia's worst industrial
nightmare, is a hell on earth, to long-time resident Paul Fitzgerald, it's paradise.

PAUL FITZGERALD, RESIDENT: I'm living my life out here.

I quite enjoy the surroundings and the people, not just the locals but the visitors.

It's a peaceful kind of existence, not much stress, and you're near to nature.

MICK O'DONNELL: Paul Fitzgerald, once a Catholic priest who came to serve the Pilbara in the '60s,
now lives on in the ghost town of Wittenoom, taking readings for the weather bureau, even running a
guesthouse for passing tourists.

PAUL FITZGERALD: Fortunately, we're free of all the problems you have in the cities of Australia,
including pollution.

MICK O'DONNELL: The deadly blue asbestos was mined here in the '50s and '60s, feeding the James
Hardie factories which distributed it in building materials all around the country.

Today, 6 per cent of the hundreds of dead and ill from asbestos owe their exposure to having lived
or worked here in Wittenoom.

Most acknowledge that any remaining danger is from the tiny fibres dispersed from the massive
tailings dump at the asbestos mine site.

PAUL FITZGERALD: The town is perfectly clean.

It's out in the gorge at the old mine site - that's where the problem is.

MICK O'DONNELL: Most acknowledge any remaining danger is from the tiny fibres at the massive dump
at the asbestos mine site.

JOHN FORD, LABOR MP: There's natural occurrences from time to time after floods.

The hard face is taken away by the water and then the wind can lift it up and blow it around.

MICK O'DONNELL: Though the government of Sir Charles Court declared that the town would close in
1978, dozens still lived there in '92, even when the courts began to find that residents, not just
miners had been at risk of the cancer mesothelioma leading to panic by some And another government
declaration that the town would finally close.

HENDY COWAN, WA DEPUTY PREMIER, 1992: I'm not going to have this particular issue on the agenda for
the next 20 years.

MICK O'DONNELL: 10 years on it's the turn of local State MP John Ford to declare its demise.

Is Wittenoom a dangerous place?

JOHN FORD: Yes.

MICK O'DONNELL: And it should be closed down?

JOHN FORD: Yes, as soon as possible.

MICK O'DONNELL: John Ford says that while residents remain, they will endanger others who are
attracted to the area's great natural beauty and colourful reputation.

Around 18 of the diehards remained, sceptical of the claims of danger.

Some even moved into the town in recent years.

LORRAINE THOMAS, RESIDENT: I won't leave.

I've got no intention of leaving.

The only place I'll go to is the cemetery here and I've got no intention of going there for some
time yet.

MICK O'DONNELL: Lorraine Thomas runs the Wittenoom gem shop and, believe it or not, rents out
holiday homes.

LORRAINE THOMAS: What is recorded here is a level of airborne asbestos that is 100 times less than
WorkSafe say is acceptable in the workplace, and it is actually less than in the mining towns that
surround the area.

MICK O'DONNELL: What the State Government doesn't advertise is that one of the State's premier
tourist locations, the gorgeous Karijini National Park, is closer to the waste dump than the town
of Wittenoom.

PAUL FITZGERALD: It's just over the hill from the mine site, so they're hypocritical.

MICK O'DONNELL: They should be shutting down the national park?

PAUL FITZGERALD: They should.

They should be shutting down the iron ore mines, for that matter.

MICK O'DONNELL: But former Labor and now Independent MP Mark Neville, a geologist, rubbishes the
government's claims about airborne fibre danger.

MARK NEVILL, GEOLOGIST: When you monitor the air in Wittenoom township now, the tailings have been
cleaned up, the asbestos levels are below the detection levels of the equipment.

MICK O'DONNELL: Mark Neville took the most accurate measurements of airborne asbestos in the
Wittenoom Gorge, near the mine, and in Wittenoom township back in the early 90s.

He believes rather than shutting the town, the government should finally put money into removing
the massive tailings.

MARK NEVILL: There is a low-level risk associated with the tailings at the mine if people are
walking over them and disturbing them.

They should be cleaned up.

MICK O'DONNELL: In the meantime, Wittenoom remains a wild west limbo of conflicting messages from
government bodies.

Austrian immigrant Mario Hartmann collects the mail for Australia Post.

MARIO HARTMANN, RESIDENT: It's a good lifestyle.

There is no crime here.

MICK O'DONNELL: He's also contracted to the State-owned power company to keep the electricity
station going.

But the local Ashburton Shire Council refuses to allow its workers to enter the town for the usual
health and building regulation.

LORRAINE THOMAS: That's true at the moment.

MICK O'DONNELL: So there's no supervision of the buildings of the businesses whatsoever?

LORRAINE THOMAS: That's alright.

MICK O'DONNELL: It's the wild west.

LORRAINE THOMAS: As I said, it's quite free.

MICK O'DONNELL: There's no doubt that Wittenoom's history is a trail of tragedy.

It has been a dirty old town.

But for those who want to see out their days here, there's life in the old place yet.

In the meantime, Wittenoom remains in a wild west limbo of conflictsing messages from government
bodies. This Austrian immigrant collects the mail for Australia poaftd. It's a good lifestyle. He
is also contractsed to the State owned power company to keep the electricity station going. But the
local council refuses to allow its workers to enter the town for the usual health and building
regulation. There is no supervision of the buildings or the businesses whatsoever? It's alright,
isn't it? It's the wild west! As I said, it's quite free. SONG: # Kissed a girl # In the Wittenoom
shade # Dirty old town # There's no doubt the history of this place is a trail of tragedy. It has
been a dirty old town. But for those who want to see out their days here, there's life in the old
place yet. Mick O'Donnell reporting there. The benefits of pushing body and soul to the limit in
adventurous activities has for some time now been considered a healthy tonic for the pressures of a
busy life. But a clinical psychologist with a passion for the outdoors to the treatment of
teenagers suffering mental illness. It's called adventure therapy, and in some cases it's replacing
prescription drugs and some forms of counselling. Mick Bunworth reports. 9am above a rock wall on
the outskirts of Melbourne and Romy Caddy is learning to abseil. Make sure that you're using things
that help you to feel more confident. I'm not strong enough to push my own weight back. This is no
ordinary adventure training. Dr Simon Crisp is a clinical psychologist who works with teenagers
suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses and behavioural problems. Keep your
knees bent. That's good. Nice and stable. Making sure you're not going to go sideways. And this
adventure therapy, as he calls it, is offering a real alternative to prescription drugs, or
clinic-based counselling. Try to anchor the feeling you have at the moment and what you're saying
to yourself, try to anchor that in your memory so you can look back on this when you're facing
situations like this in the future. There is' a lot of community concern about using medication
with add less sents. The research suggests it's not as effective with teenagers as it is with
adults. 1 in 2 teenagers who are referred for counselling either turn up to only one session or
don't go back. He thought of combining the two fields 12 years ago. It worked. Once teenagers at
risk conquered rock walls, caves and river rapids, life, which had once threatened to consume them,
didn't seem nearly so confronting. I think the important thing is that it does seem to be very
effective in a whole range of different mental health issues. Having said that, the young person
needs to be prepared for this sort of approach. It's not the sort of thing that every young person
will want to engage in. Romy Caddy says she's nothing like the person she was when she first found
adventure therapy. And she's not prepared to dwell on what might have been, had she not joined the
program. It's not so much that you're feeling bad about something, you're feeling bad. I think I
probably could have kept going for a little while but I don't think it would have lasted long at
all. I don't like to think about it any more. It's something I have put to -- put behind me.
Teachers say adventure therapy is so effective, students at risk of not even finishing year 10 have
returned to complete secondary schooling. In trying to teach resilience to kids, and these students
in particular were people who had often been given a lot of bouncing around of various sorts, it
was their chance to bond together as a group, to achieve success at something, and it just happens
to occur outside of school environment. In this case, I think the success is longer term than just
exam results. It's what they can contribute back to society from having been in that program. I
think the main thing that it really provides is an engaging way of trying to learn the skills to
deal with the environments that young people are in, so the sorts of things they need to be able to
cope with, often stressful social environments they have to manage as they move towards adulthood.
I'm not going. There's water there. Greg Gregoriades found adventure therapy improved his
communication skills and revived interest in those areas of life he was in danger of abandoning. I
would just scream at people in the past. I gave up soccer because I didn't like my coach. But now
I've gone back, so that's a lot better. It left me with maybe an understanding or trying to
understand what the other person is saying to me. Instead of just sort of barking out what I want
and not

Adventure therapy helps mentally ill teenagers

Adventure therapy helps mentally ill teenagers

Reporter: Mick Bunworth

MAXINE McKEW: The benefits of pushing body and soul to the limit in adventurous activities has, for
some time now, been considered a healthy tonic for the pressures of a busy life.

But a clinical psychologist with a passion for the outdoors has found those benefits now extend to
the treatment of teenagers suffering mental illness.

It's called Adventure Therapy and in some cases it's replacing prescription drugs and some forms of
counselling.

Mick Bunworth reports.

MICK BUNWORTH: 9:00am above a rock wall at Warrandyte on the outskirts of Melbourne and Romy Caddy
is learning to abseil.

DR SIMON CRISP, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Make sure that you're using things that help you to feel
more confident.

ROMY CADDY: I'm not strong enough to push my own weight back.

MICK BUNWORTH: This is no ordinary adventure training.

Dr Simon Crisp is a clinical psychologist who works with teenagers suffering from anxiety,
depression and other mental illnesses and behavioural problems.

DR SIMON CRISP: Keep your knees bent.

That's good.

Nice and stable.

Making sure you're not going to go sideways.

MICK BUNWORTH: And this adventure therapy, as he calls it, is offering a real alternative to
prescription drugs, or clinic-based counselling.

DR SIMON CRISP: Try to anchor the feeling you have at the moment and what you're saying to
yourself, try to anchor that in your memory so you can look back on this when you're facing
situations like this in the future.

There is' a lot of community concern about using medication with adolescents.

The research suggests it's not as effective with teenagers as it is with adults.

1 in 2 teenagers who are referred for counselling either turn up to only one session or don't go
back.

MICK BUNWORTH: Dr Crisp, who was an outward bound instructor before becoming a psychologist,
thought of combining the two fields 12 years ago.

It worked.

Once teenagers at risk conquered rock walls, caves and river rapids, life, which had once
threatened to consume them, didn't seem nearly so confronting.

DR SIMON CRISP: I think the important thing is that it does seem to be very effective in a whole
range of different mental health issues.

Having said that, the young person needs to be prepared for this sort of approach.

It's not the sort of thing that every young person will want to engage in.

MICK BUNWORTH: Romy Caddy says she's nothing like the person she was when she first found adventure
therapy.

And she's not prepared to dwell on what might have been, had she not joined the program.

ROMY CADDY: It's not so much that you're feeling bad about something, you're feeling bad.

I think I probably could have kept going for a little while but I don't think it would have lasted
long at all.

I don't like to think about it any more.

It's something I have put to - put behind me.

MICK BUNWORTH: Teachers say adventure therapy is so effective, students at risk of not even
finishing year 10 have returned to complete secondary schooling.

DAVID WRIGHT, SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHER: In trying to teach resilience to kids - and these students
in particular were people who had often been given a lot of bouncing around of various sorts - it
was their chance to bond together as a group, to achieve success at something, and it just happens
to occur outside of school environment.

In this case, I think the success is longer term than just exam results.

It's what they can contribute back to society from having been in that program.

DR SIMON CRISP: I think the main thing that it really provides is an engaging way of trying to
learn the skills to deal with the environments that young people are in.

So the sorts of things they need to be able to cope with, often stressful social environments they
have to manage as they move towards adulthood.

MICK BUNWORTH: Greg Gregoriades found adventure therapy improved his communication skills and
revived interest in those areas of life he was in danger of abandoning.

GREG GREGORIADES: I used to be, if someone said something, bam, see you later.

I would just go up and punch them or start screaming at them.

I gave up soccer because I didn't like my coach.

But now I've gone back, so that's a lot better.

It left me with maybe an understanding or trying to understand what the other person is saying to
me.

Instead of just sort of barking out what I want and not listening to anybody else.

ROMY CADDY: This program basically taught us that while there are these challenges that basically
seem like you're never gonna get past, if you learn to work as a group and you learn to use the
network of support that's around you, there's always a way to get through everything.