The youth mental health and technology team puts young people at the centre of their own care. We partner with health services to develop innovative treatments for those aged 12-25 with emerging mental health disorders.
There is a great need to transform the way in which clinical care is delivered to young people with emerging mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, other mood disorders and psychosis. Specialised clinical assessment is required and treatment systems need to be much more customised to the individual’s unique needs.
We aim to transform how clinical care is delivered to young people with mental health issues. Rather than rely on broad diagnostic generalisations, we want to see clinicians diagnose and treat young people in a way that caters to the individual needs of each person.
We focus on three main streams of research:
The Brain and Mind Youth Cohort Study began in 2008. 10 years later, we have assessed over 8000 individuals with early phases of anxiety, mood or psychotic disorders. From this cohort we have been able to carry out specific clinical trials of new behavioural, social and pharmacological interventions for these disorders.
We are using new digital technologies to develop health systems that better meet the holistic needs of young people with mental health issues. Working with InnoWell Pty Ltd (a joint venture between The University of Sydney and PricewaterhouseCoopers) to build a digital platform that can be tailored to the unique needs of the young person, and is collaboratively managed by the person seeking care and their clinician. In time, this technology may be used as the first point of contact in clinical care.
The Australian Government’s Department of Health has provided funds for a series of research trials, known as Project Synergy, to test this platform across different population groups, including young people. Through the InnoWell platform, specifically InnoWell Care, young people can complete real-time questionnaires and view their results immediately, they can monitor their ongoing progress, and in collaboration with their clinician, they can choose treatment options tailored to their unique needs, ensuring they receive the right care at the right time.
This seamless continuum of support from online services through to healthcare providers offered by InnoWell Care aims to fundamentally improve the system of care in Australia’s youth mental health services. We are working towards running trials of the InnoWell platform at 11 headspace locations across Australia, ensuring the platform is tested to meet the cross the diverse needs, contexts and experiences of Australia’s young people.
In terms of mental health, young people are most important. The majority of mental disorders have their onset within the adolescent to young adult period. It’s a time when the brain is undergoing the most dynamic changes.
Our broad program of research also includes:
Our research program is heavily integrated with headspace Camperdown. Headspace is the national youth mental health foundation providing early intervention and mental health services to 12-25 year olds. The integration of cutting-edge research with safe and effective clinical care enables us to quickly and effectively translate our research findings into clinical services, facilitating continuous improvements to mental health services for the benefit of young people in Australia.