Prevention is vital: Black Dog Institute responds to Children's Mental Health Strategy
Published: 16 August, 2019
Black Dog Institute welcomes the Children’s Mental Health Strategy, announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt in his National Press Club address this week.
Chief Scientist and Director of the Black Dog Institute, Scientia Professor Helen Christensen, said this long-term plan will help reach young people at a critical time in their development.
“A focus on youth mental health is not only about identifying kids who already experience mental ill-health so that they can get help early, it is about reaching and inoculating those who haven’t yet developed any symptoms,” said Professor Christensen.
“We know that half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14 years, and we also know that prevention is better than cure.
“The research evidence is clear: if we use the right parenting programs, combined with the best anxiety, depression and suicide prevention programs, it will be possible to avert young people developing these conditions. For instance, international evidence tells us 22% of depression incidence can be prevented – anxiety prevention programs are even more effective.”
With such vital implications for the government’s new strategy, Black Dog Institute acknowledges it will require widespread commitment and consultation from those working closely with youth to effectively deliver on its aims.
“For any youth mental health strategy to succeed there must be genuine and sustained engagement with sector experts, those who have developed these programs, and clinicians and schools who will adopt programs that are scientifically based and delivered at scale,” said Professor Christensen.
“It is our hope that the latest scientific research and evidence-base will form the foundation of the Children’s Mental Health Strategy to ensure our collective efforts have the greatest impact in changing and saving young lives.”
With the Children’s Mental Health Strategy a vital enterprise, Black Dog Institute calls upon Australia’s finest minds to contribute towards its delivery.
“This initiative is too vital not to involve Australia’s best mental health scientists. Australia ranks 5th in the world in its research impact in psychology and psychiatry. All our universities and Medical Research Institutes have experts who would be looking to contribute to the government’s new plan,” said Professor Christensen.
Globally recognised for its research and evidence-based clinical resources and tools, Black Dog Institute is already uniquely aligned with the Federal Government’s Strategy through their leadership of the Future Proofing study, Australia’s largest ever clinical trial into the effectiveness of mental health apps for preventing depression and anxiety in young people.
“The Black Dog Institute stands ready to contribute to this vital mission, and we look forward to working with our sector collaborators to harness our collective knowledge to achieve the goals set out in the Children’s Mental Health Strategy.”
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