Authors: Kat Evans, Jessica Halligan, Ellen Murray, Robert Goudie, Sarah Paine, Joseph Akot, Jessica Bos, Hayden Campbell, Kayla Hann, Nikki Speer, Georgie Swift, Chrisma McKenzie, Emily Evans, Gabby McEvoy, Marina Valadian, Hiroko Fujimoto, Anita Heywood, Philip Batterham, Kate Maston, Aliza Werner-Seidler, Jennifer Nicholas, Dean Kolovos, Imogen Bell, Gina Chinnery, Andrew Thompson, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez, Eóin Killackey, Cath Chapman, Emma Devine, Amelia Russell, Tara Guckel, Lexine Stapinski, Maree Teesson, Nicola Newton, Jamie Waring, Caroline Rivalland & Felipe Barahona
Event: 2023 The MHS conference - Adelaide
Subject: Youth Mental Health
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Presentation 1: Spill The Tea: Queer young people, parents/carers and staff experiences of adolescent mental health services
Authors: Kat Evans, Jessica Halligan, Ellen Murray, Robert Goudie, Sarah Paine, Joseph Akot, Jessica Bos, Hayden Campbell, Kayla Hann, Nikki Speer, Georgie Swift, Chrisma McKenzie, Emily Evans, Gabby McEvoy & Marina Valadian
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer plus (LGBTIQ+) young people who experience mental health challenges often have poorer health outcomes than their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts, due to experiences of stigma and discrimination. Given this, it was important that CAMHS explored how their services were being experienced by LGBTIQ+ people and determine in any change needed to occur to ensure people were able to engage with the service, and reduce the chance of negative outcomes for these consumers and carers. Staff at Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS South Australia) developed 3 surveys to explore consumer, carer and staff experiences of the child/adolescent mental health service in order to develop an Inclusion Initiative which could address identified challenges for LGBTIQ+ people accessing and working within the service. The main finding from this study was that an LGBTIQ+ specific intervention focusing on improving inclusion was worthwhile, and that these findings demonstrated the gaps in achieving equality for all consumers and carers, when heteronormativity and binary gender identities were assumed as given. Consumers and carers provided their wisdom as to how to ensure services were inclusive and were overtly welcoming for LGBTIQ+ people.
1. The importance of asking LGBTIQ+ people what can be done to improve inclusivity and access to youth mental health services, and how to engage with these responses.
2. Young people who are LGBTIQ+ are less likely to engage with mental health services and have poorer health outcomes. Changing services to ensure they are overtly inclusive is necessary.
Presentation 2: Did lockdown duration or subjective experience have greater impact on adolescent mental health during pandemic?
Authors: Hiroko Fujimoto, Anita Heywood, Philip Batterham, Kate Maston & Aliza Werner-Seidler
This study aims to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of Australian adolescents. The study explores how the duration of lockdown and subjective experiences of the pandemic impact mental health outcomes, considering individual and contextual mediating factors. Subgroup differences are examined to determine which adolescents are most vulnerable to poor mental health outcomes due to the pandemic. Data were collected from a subsample of adolescents participating in an Australian cohort study of mental health.¹,² Participants completed questionnaires on two occasions. T1 measures included mental health and wellbeing, individual and contextual variables, subjective experiences of the pandemic, and length of lockdown experienced. T2 measures included a follow-up assessment of mental health and wellbeing 12 months later. The study's findings will inform public health policy and clinical practice by identifying which aspects of the pandemic were most detrimental to adolescents' mental health and identifying vulnerable subgroups who experienced poorer mental health due to the pandemic. The study will make a significant contribution to ensuring that mental health is integrated into future pandemic planning, interventions, and recovery, address social determinants of health, and advocate for the rights of vulnerable groups experiencing health inequity during such crises.
The presentation will describe how the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown and subjective experience of the pandemic impact mental health and wellbeing of adolescents. It will also describe how the relationships are mediated by individual and contextual factors and differed in subgroups.
1. Werner‐Seidler A, Maston K, Calear AL, Batterham PJ, Larsen ME, Torok M, O’Dea B, Huckvale K, Beames JR, Brown L, Fujimoto H. The Future Proofing Study: Design, methods and baseline characteristics of a prospective cohort study of the mental health of Australian adolescents. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research [Internet]. 2022 Nov 28:e1954. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1002/mpr.1954
2. Werner-Seidler A, Huckvale K, Larsen ME, Calear AL, Maston K, Johnston L, Torok M, O’Dea B, Batterham PJ, Schweizer S, Skinner SR. A trial protocol for the effectiveness of digital interventions for preventing depression in adolescents: The Future Proofing Study. Trials [Internet]. 2020 Dec;21(1):1-21. Available from https://doi.org/10.1186/s13063-019-3901-7
Presentation 3: Integrating virtual reality into co-located vocational support in youth mental health
Authors: Jennifer Nicholas, Dean Kolovos, Imogen Bell, Gina Chinnery, Andrew Thompson, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez & Eóin Killackey
Although an important outcome for this age group, youth unemployment is higher among those who experience mental ill-health compared to the general population. Whilst many mental health contexts have co-located vocational programs, they are often labour intensive and therefore serve only a small proportion of those who could benefit, highlighting equity challenges in support provision. Technology may be able to fill this gap; in particular, Virtual Reality (VR), a novel immersive technology with potential to provide flexible and safe environments for skill building.
However, digital supports often suffer engagement and implementation challenges. Thus, to ensure these are considered from the beginning of technology development, interviews with 9 vocational workers and 10 young people, and design workshops, were performed to understand the needs, preferences, and implementation context for a VR tool for vocational recovery.
There was high vocational worker and moderate young people endorsement for VR to aid in vocational support. Interview skills, workplace communication skills, and allowing young people to experience different jobs or sectors to support career decision-making were top suggestions for VR. VR was seen to fit within vocational programs, as well as be independently used by young people. Further design decisions and resulting prototype will be discussed.
The audience will gain a broader understanding of the vocational support needs of young people with mental ill-health, how these are currently addressed within teams co-located with mental health services, and how VR can support and enhance building these vital skills.
Killackey, E., Allott, K., Jackson, H. J., Scutella, R., Tseng, Y. P., Borland, J., ... & Cotton, S. M. (2019). Individual placement and support for vocational recovery in first-episode psychosis: randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 214(2), 76-82.
Presentation 4: Positive Choices: Evaluation of a national initiative to disseminate evidence-based substance use and wellbeing resources.
Authors: Cath Chapman, Emma Devine, Amelia Russell, Tara Guckel, Lexine Stapinski, Maree Teesson & Nicola Newton
Alcohol and other drug (AOD) use among adolescents continues to be a public health concern, with use putting youth at higher risk of mental ill-health. Positive Choices is a website developed to provide all school communities across Australia with access to freely available, culturally appropriate, evidence-based drug education and wellbeing resources. This presentation provides an overview of an innovative evaluation to ask if it is meeting the needs of parents and educators. The evaluation was conducted online and guided by the GoodWeb framework.
Ninety-six participants completed the questionnaire (43% living regionally/remotely and 5% identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander). Overall, Positive Choices performed well. Website appearance was the highest rated attribute, followed by its ease of use and content. Of those who didn’t already use Positive Choices, 87% of school staff and 94% of parents planned to in the future and 94% would recommend it to others. Feedback provided several areas for improvement and future development. Findings from the evaluation of Positive Choices demonstrate that it is effective at improving access to evidence based AOD and wellbeing resources for school communities. The findings highlight the important role of online national health initiatives for AOD and mental ill-health harm reduction.
This presentation introduces an innovative and robust approach for evaluating the ‘real world’ effectiveness of online platforms that disseminate AOD and mental health resources. It highlights the important role that Positive Choices plays in ensuring freely available, evidence based AOD and mental health resources are available to everyone across Australia.
Allison, R., Hayes, C., McNulty, C. A. M., & Young, V. (2019). A Comprehensive Framework to Evaluate Websites: Literature Review and Development of GoodWeb. JMIR formative research, 3(4), e14372. https://doi.org/10.2196/14372
13. Stapinski, L., Nepal, S. Guckel, T., Grummitt, L., Chapman, C., Lynch, S., Lawler, S., Teesson, M., Newton, N. (2022). Evaluation of Positive Choices: a national initiative to disseminate evidence-based alcohol and other drug prevention strategies. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting , 5(3), e34721 Doi: 10.2196/34721
Presentation 5: Relational Safety and Autonomy in Youth Residential & Outreach Services: Fostering Humanity, Dignity and Self-Determination.
Authors: Jamie Waring, Caroline Rivalland & Felipe Barahona
Youth Residential Recovery Services (YRRS) support a diverse and inclusive group of young people aged 16-25 years who experience serious mental health issues and trauma, providing up to 12 months of intensive, residentially based psychosocial support in Victoria.
Transitions in and out of the YRRS can present challenges for young people as they navigate access and adapt to a new context. Acknowledgement of the need for pre and post residential support has enabled the introduction of support services, YORS (Youth Outreach Recovery Services), affording a young person up to two years of consistent, reliable and predictable care in the YRRS and in the community.
In late 2022 Neami published a practice approach of YRR and YORS services that guides team practice and highlights the outcomes achieved by young people engaged with the services. Key features of the integrated approach that young people identified as valuable include emotional and physical safety, connecting and belonging, building a sense of self.
This presentation will demonstrate the value of an integrated residential and outreach approach in scaffolding young people when transitioning from residential services towards independence, describing the development and feasibility of the service and discuss themes identified in the period of transition from residential support to outreach onto independent living.
1. The value of flexible tailored supports before and after intensive residential support.
2. Demonstrating an effective practice approach model working with youth and the outcomes being delivered.