Winner for Innovation
Black Dog Institute, Faculty Of Medicine, University Of New South Wales
Research Project: Smooth Sailing: The design and delivery of an online school-based mental health service for adolescents
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF RESEARCH
Bridianne O’Dea PhD is currently a Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales.
The Smooth Sailing Project involves the design, build, delivery, and evaluation of an online, stepped-care mental health service for high school youth. This “virtual clinic” allows young people’s mental health to be screened, treated, and monitored, entirely within the school context. This new type of service model is based on allocating students to a “step” as determined by their symptom severity. The service then delivers a personalised treatment plan which incorporates internet interventions where appropriate, so that face-to-face psychological care is reserved for those most in need. Outcomes include improved detection of mental health issues among youth, increased help-seeking behaviour, and reduced symptoms. This project is the first of its kind. It was designed in partnership with young people, their parents, teachers, and school counsellors. It is currently being trialled in five high schools, and is being offered to an additional 24 schools throughout 2017 and 2018.
BACKGROUND DESCRIPTION OF ORGANISATION
The Black Dog Institute, founded in 2002, is internationally recognised as a pioneer in the identification, prevention and treatment of mental illness. Based at Prince of Wales Hospital Sydney, Black Dog is a translational medical research institute that aims to reduce the incidence of mental illness and the stigma around it, to actively reduce suicide rates and empower everyone to live the most mentally healthy lives possible. The Institute aims to improve the lives of people affected by mental illness through the rapid translation of high quality research into improved clinical treatments, increased accessibility to mental health services and delivery of long-term public health solutions. The Institute adopts a unique approach that incorporates clinical services with their cutting-edge research, health professional training and community education programs. The Institute combines expertise in clinical management with innovative research to develop new, and more effective strategies for people living with mental illness.