S54: Supporting Strong Social Networks in Youth Mental Health

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By September 11, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Danielle Sui-Man Lam, Yasmin Talavera, Carol Harvey, Christine Migliorini

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Supporting Strong Social Networks in Youth Mental Health

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Danielle is an Occupational Therapist graduated from the Masters of Occupational Therapy Practice at Monash University with an interest in working in the field of mental health. She took part in fieldwork with the PRC researching online interventions for the friends and family of young people with mental health issues.

Background: Young people with mental health issues identify friends and family (FAF) as preferred avenues of support. Potentially, online interventions can be useful tools to strengthen the knowledge and skills-base of FAF, which will in turn benefit young people with mental health issues. With today’s emphasis on evidence-based best practice, what is the evidence for the efficacy of online intervention for FAF?

Method: A scoping literature review identified best practice concerning online interventions for FAF of young people aged 12-25 with a mental health issue.

Results: The review identified evidence of acceptability and efficacy of online interventions. User adherence and access are major challenges to sustaining online interventions. Structural disadvantage, such as no internet access and poor computer literacy were rarely acknowledged in the review despite their necessity in successful implementation. FAF value the peer support offered in online interventions, however, want to retain clinical support.

Conclusion: Online interventions have potential for wider implementation to build stronger community support networks. Maximising adherence rates by catering for diverse users and offering incentives, building in flexibility of use such as unstructured modules and customizability, and decreasing structural disadvantage are key considerations for implementation.

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: The audience will better understand the optimal mix of peer and clinical support recommended for online interventions for family and friends of young people with mental health issues.

Learning Objective 2: The audience will appreciate the need to develop strategies to address the structural disadvantages experienced by some target service users so as to improve utilisation of online interventions.

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