S63: Stress Less: An innovative early-intervention peer work group program for young people experiencing anxiety.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Thomas Stewart, Stacey Roy

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Change, Innovation, Reform,Lived Experience, Recovery,Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention,Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem experienced by young Australians. Studies have shown evidence of efficacy for group cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for general anxiety, including that offered in psycho-educational groups. In this presentation, learnings from the development, delivery, and evaluation of an innovative peer work group program for young people aged 16-25 living with anxiety will be shared.

Stress Less was developed by anxiety peer workers from headspace Port Adelaide, a specialist youth mental health service, and PACE, a peer work program for people living with panic, anxiety, OCD, and eating disorders. The Stress Less program was designed to marry up CBT and peer work approaches to managing anxiety, through a pilot 4-week group program for young people aged 16-25.

Stress Less was evaluated by a number of methodologies, including the Kessler 10 (K10), MyLifeTracker, and Life Satisfaction outcome measures.
All participants either agreed or strongly agreed that their overall capacity to manage anxiety had increased and that they would recommend the group program to others. On average, there was a 14% reduction in participants’ K10 scores throughout the group program.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Participants will gain an understanding of combined clinical and peer work approaches for managing anxiety in young people aged 16-25 in a group setting.

Learning Objective 2: Participants will gain an understanding of the value of anxiety peer work in supporting young people living with anxiety.

Whitfield, G, 2010. Group cognitive–behavioural therapy for anxiety and depression. Advances in psychiatric treatment, [Online]. 16, 219-227. Available at: http://apt.rcpsych.org/content/aptrcpsych/16/3/219.full.pdf [Accessed 10 March 2017]
Wolgensinger, L, 2015. Cognitive behavioral group therapy for anxiety: recent developments. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, [Online]. 17, 347-351. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4610619/ [Accessed 10 March 2017]

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