Adolescent pathways to depression: interventions, choice and treatments


There are few more urgent, but also more controversial, topics than determining which treatments for adolescent depression are best suited to which young people.

A whole series of questions are commonly raised by young people themselves, their parents, health professionals and the wider community. Common examples, include: when to present for help, how to get the help you need, how can you decide which treatment will provide the most benefit, can the treatments do more harm than good and how long does treatment need to continue?

In recent years, new research at the BMRI (and in collaboration with our major partners in Brisbane, Melbourne and Washington) has made a significant contribution to providing better answers to these questions.

Our fundamental perspective combines a new approach to clinical practice ('clinical staging') with new technologies (sleep and circadian rhythm assessments, brain imaging and neuropsychology) to characterise specific pathways to the onset and outcome of adolescent depression. This has led to the development of new studies that test whether this system provides a more robust evidence-base for answering those common clinical questions which are of greatest interest to young people and their families.

About the Speaker

Professor Ian Hickie

Professor Ian Hickie has been one of the most influential voices in recognition and funding of mental health, especially in young people.

In October 2000 he was appointed as the inaugural CEO of beyondblue: the national depression initiative and from 2003-06 served as its Clinical Advisor. In 2003, he was appointed as the inaugural executive director of the flagship Brain & Mind Research Institute at The University of Sydney. From 2007 to 2011, he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Australian National Council on Drugs. From 2006 he was a founding member (and later Director of the independent company) Headspace: the National Youth Mental Health Foundation. In 2007, Professor Hickie was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. From 2007-12, Professor Hickie is one of the first round of NHMRC Australian Research Fellows, recognising excellence in Australian Medical Research. From 2008-2010, he was appointed to the Federal Health Minister’s National Advisory Council on Mental Health and then in 2010 to 2011, the Federal Ministers Mental Health Expert Advisory Group.

From 2012, Professor Hickie has been appointed as a Commissioner in the new National Mental Health Commission, to oversee enhanced accountability for mental health reform in Australia. His research, clinical and health services development work focuses on expansion of population-based mental health research, enhanced primary and secondary care mental health services (particularly focused on evidence-based early interventions for young people with anxiety and mood disorders and development of international mental health strategies.

Watch the lecture

Duration 1:03:36 - Lecture begins at 03:50
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