Centre for Youth Mental Health - Research Publications

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    What works for mental health problems in youth? Survey of real-world experiences of treatments and side effects
    Morgan, AJ ; Ross, AM ; Yap, MBH ; Reavley, NJ ; Parker, A ; Simmons, MB ; Scanlan, F ; Jorm, AF (WILEY, 2020-12-01)
    AIM: Despite youth being the most common age group for onset of mental disorders, there is less knowledge on the benefits and harms of treatments in young people. In addition, efficacy data from randomized controlled trials may not generalize to how treatment works outside of research settings. This study aimed to investigate young people's perceived effectiveness of different treatments for mental health problems, the professionals who delivered these, and the experience of negative effects. METHODS: We developed a consumer report website where young people who were ever diagnosed with a mental disorder provided ratings on the helpfulness or harmfulness of different types of professionals, mental health treatments (medical, psychological complementary/alternative) and self-help strategies, and whether they had experienced particular negative effects. RESULTS: Here, 557 young people aged 12-25 years, who were recruited from English-speaking, high-income countries, provided 1258 ratings of treatments. All treatments showed varied perceptions of effectiveness. Medical and psychological treatments were rated moderately helpful on average with low rates of harmfulness. Self-help strategies were rated as being as helpful as professional treatments. Side effects related to the head or mind (e.g., concentration difficulties, inability to feel emotions, depression and irritability) were the most common across all types of medicines. For psychological treatments, treatment being too expensive and feeling worse at the end of a session were the most commonly reported negative effects. CONCLUSIONS: Study findings may be a useful guide to clinicians, researchers, young people and their families about what is likely to work in real-world settings.
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    Parenting strategies for reducing adolescent alcohol use: a Delphi consensus study
    Ryan, SM ; Jorm, AF ; Kelly, CM ; Hart, LM ; Morgan, AJ ; Lubman, DI (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2011-01-06)
    BACKGROUND: International concern regarding the increase in preventable harms attributed to adolescent alcohol consumption has led to growing political and medical consensus that adolescents should avoid drinking for as long as possible. For this recommendation to be adopted, parents and guardians of adolescents require information about strategies that they can employ to prevent or reduce their adolescent's alcohol use that are supported by evidence. METHODS: The Delphi method was used to obtain expert consensus on parenting strategies effective in preventing and reducing adolescent alcohol consumption. A literature search identified 457 recommendations for parents to reduce their adolescent child's alcohol use. These recommendations were presented to a panel of 38 Australian experts who were asked to rate their importance over three survey rounds. RESULTS: There were 289 parenting strategies that were endorsed as important or essential in reducing adolescent alcohol use by ≥90% of the panel. These strategies were categorised into 11 sub-headings: things parents should know about adolescent alcohol use, delaying adolescent's introduction to alcohol, modelling responsible drinking and attitudes towards alcohol, talking to adolescents about alcohol, establishing family rules, monitoring adolescents when unsupervised, preparing adolescents for peer pressure, unsupervised adolescent drinking, what to do when an adolescent has been drinking without parental permission, hosting adolescent parties, and establishing and maintaining a good parent-child relationship. The endorsed strategies were written into a document suitable for parents. CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive set of parenting strategies for preventing or reducing adolescent alcohol consumption were identified. These strategies can be promoted to parents to help them implement national recommendations for use of alcohol by young people.
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    Helping someone with problem drug use: a delphi consensus study of consumers, carers, and clinicians
    Kingston, AH ; Morgan, AJ ; Jorm, AF ; Hall, K ; Hart, LM ; Kelly, CM ; Lubman, DI (BMC, 2011-01-05)
    BACKGROUND: Problem use of illicit drugs (i.e. drug abuse or dependence) is associated with considerable health and social harms, highlighting the need for early intervention and engagement with health services. Family members, friends and colleagues play an important role in supporting and assisting individuals with problem drug use to seek professional help, however there are conflicting views about how and when such support should be offered. This paper reports on the development of mental health first aid guidelines for problem drug use in adults, to help inform community members on how to assist someone developing problem drug use or experiencing a drug-related crisis. METHODS: A systematic review of the scientific and lay literature was conducted to develop a 228-item survey containing potential first-aid strategies to help someone developing a drug problem or experiencing a drug-related crisis. Three panels of experts (29 consumers, 31 carers and 27 clinicians) were recruited from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Panel members independently rated the items over three rounds, with strategies reaching consensus on importance written into the guidelines. RESULTS: The overall response rate across three rounds was 80% (86% consumers, 81% carers, 74% clinicians). 140 first aid strategies were endorsed as essential or important by 80% or more of panel members. The endorsed strategies provide information and advice on what is problem drug use and its consequences, how to approach a person about their problem drug use, tips for effective communication, what to do if the person is unwilling to change their drug use, what to do if the person does (or does not) want professional help, what are drug-affected states and how to deal with them, how to deal with adverse reactions leading to a medical emergency, and what to do if the person is aggressive. CONCLUSIONS: The guidelines provide a consensus-based resource for community members who want to help someone with a drug problem. It is hoped that the guidelines will lead to better support and understanding for those with problem drug use and facilitate engagement with professional help.
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    Helping someone with problem drinking: Mental health first aid guidelines - a Delphi expert consensus study
    Kingston, AH ; Jorm, AF ; Kitchener, BA ; Hides, L ; Kelly, CM ; Morgan, AJ ; Hart, LM ; Lubman, DI (BMC, 2009-12-07)
    BACKGROUND: Alcohol is a leading risk factor for avoidable disease burden. Research suggests that a drinker's social network can play an integral role in addressing hazardous (i.e., high-risk) or problem drinking. Often however, social networks do not have adequate mental health literacy (i.e., knowledge about mental health problems, like problem drinking, or how to treat them). This is a concern as the response that a drinker receives from their social network can have a substantial impact on their willingness to seek help. This paper describes the development of mental health first aid guidelines that inform community members on how to help someone who may have, or may be developing, a drinking problem (i.e., alcohol abuse or dependence). METHODS: A systematic review of the research and lay literature was conducted to develop a 285-item survey containing strategies on how to help someone who may have, or may be developing, a drinking problem. Two panels of experts (consumers/carers and clinicians) individually rated survey items, using a Delphi process. Surveys were completed online or via postal mail. Participants were 99 consumers, carers and clinicians with experience or expertise in problem drinking from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Items that reached consensus on importance were retained and written into guidelines. RESULTS: The overall response rate across all three rounds was 68.7% (67.6% consumers/carers, 69.2% clinicians), with 184 first aid strategies rated as essential or important by > or =80% of panel members. The endorsed guidelines provide guidance on how to: recognize problem drinking; approach someone if there is concern about their drinking; support the person to change their drinking; respond if they are unwilling to change their drinking; facilitate professional help seeking and respond if professional help is refused; and manage an alcohol-related medical emergency. CONCLUSION: The guidelines provide a consensus-based resource for community members seeking to help someone with a drinking problem. Improving community awareness and understanding of how to identify and support someone with a drinking problem may lead to earlier recognition of problem drinking and greater facilitation of professional help seeking.
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    Understanding the Needs of Young People Who Engage in Self-Harm: A Qualitative Investigation
    Hetrick, SE ; Subasinghe, A ; Anglin, K ; Hart, L ; Morgan, A ; Robinson, J (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2020-01-10)
    Self-harm is common and associated with adverse outcomes. Research about the risk factors for self-harm has informed the field with regard to clinical interventions that should be delivered for young people who engage in self-harm. Missing is an in-depth understanding of what the triggers of an urge to self-harm might be, including in young people being treated with a clinical intervention. Therefore, there is little knowledge about what techniques young people find helpful to deal with urges to self-harm when they occur. This qualitative study engaged seven young people with lived experience of self-harm in semi-structured interviews about the immediate triggers of the urge to self-harm, and helpful strategies to manage this urge. Thematic analysis using a general inductive approach revealed distressing emotions and a sense of isolation as key themes, with other triggers associated with their induction. Highlighted was the wide range of situations and emotions that can be triggering, such that a further key theme was the idiosyncratic nature of the self-help strategies young people found helpful. Interventions that are developed to support young people who self-harm must address this complexity and findings highlight the need for young people to maintain some autonomy and control while being supported to connect with others for support. This research adds to the literature on self-help strategies to support young people in moments when they are experiencing distressing emotions, feel isolated, and have an urge to self-harm providing important insight to the prevention and intervention for self-harm among young people.
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    Predicting Temperamentally Inhibited Young Children's Clinical-Level Anxiety and Internalizing Problems from Parenting and Parent Wellbeing: a Population Study
    Bayer, JK ; Morgan, A ; Prendergast, LA ; Beatson, R ; Gilbertson, T ; Bretherton, L ; Hiscock, H ; Rapee, RM (SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS, 2019-07-01)
    The aim of this study was to explore how some temperamentally inhibited young children and not others in the general population develop anxiety disorders and broader clinical-level internalizing (anxious/depressive) problems, with a focus on the family. A brief screening tool for inhibition was universally distributed to parents of children in their year before starting school across eight socioeconomically diverse government areas in Melbourne, Australia (307 preschool services). Screening identified 11% of all children as inhibited. We invited all parents of inhibited children to participate in a longitudinal prevention study. Participants were 545 parents of inhibited pre-schoolers (78% uptake) of whom 498 (91%) completed assessment one year later and 469 (86%) two years later. Parents completed questionnaires to assess parenting practices, parent wellbeing, and child internalizing problems. Parents also engaged in structured diagnostic interviews to assess child anxiety disorders. During the follow up period close to half of the inhibited young children had anxiety disorders and one in seven had clinical-level internalizing problems, with girls perhaps at higher risk. The family variables significantly predicted inhibited children's anxiety disorders and broader internalizing problems. For child anxiety disorders, overinvolved/protective parenting was particularly important for girls and boys, and poorer parent wellbeing contributed. For child anxious/depressive problems, harsh discipline was a consistent predictor for girls and boys, and poorer parent wellbeing again contributed. These etiological findings support early intervention for temperamentally inhibited young children that focuses on the family environment to prevent the development of mental health problems.
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    Effectiveness of eLearning and blended modes of delivery of Mental Health First Aid training in the workplace: randomised controlled trial
    Reavley, NJ ; Morgan, AJ ; Fischer, J-A ; Kitchener, B ; Bovopoulos, N ; Jorm, AF (BMC, 2018-09-26)
    BACKGROUND: The aim of the WorkplaceAid study was to compare the effects of eLearning or blended (eLearning plus face-to-face course delivery) Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses on public servants' knowledge, stigmatising attitudes, confidence in providing support and intentions to provide support to a person with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was carried out with 608 Australian public servants. Participants were randomly assigned to complete an eLearning MHFA course, a blended MHFA course or Red Cross eLearning Provide First Aid (PFA) (the control). The effects of the interventions were evaluated using online questionnaires pre- and post-training. The questionnaires centred around vignettes describing a person meeting the criteria for depression or PTSD. Primary outcomes were mental health first aid knowledge and desire for social distance. Secondary outcomes were recognition of mental health problems, beliefs about treatment, helping intentions and confidence and personal stigma. Feedback on the usefulness of the courses was also collected. RESULTS: Both the eLearning MHFA and blended MHFA courses had positive effects compared to PFA eLearning on mental health first aid knowledge, desire for social distance, beliefs about professional treatments, intentions and confidence in helping a person and personal stigma towards a person with depression or PTSD. There were very small non-significant differences between the eLearning MHFA and blended MHFA courses on these outcome measures. However, users were more likely to highly rate the blended MHFA course in terms of usefulness, amount learned and intentions to recommend the course to others. CONCLUSIONS: The blended MHFA course was only minimally more effective than eLearning MHFA in improving knowledge and attitudes. However, course satisfaction ratings were higher from participants in the blended MHFA course, potentially leading to greater benefits in the future. Longer-term follow-up is needed to explore this. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12614000623695 registered on 13/06/2015 (prospectively registered).
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    Psychometric properties of the Child Anxiety Life Interference Scale Preschool Version
    Gilbertson, TJ ; Morgan, AJ ; Rapee, RM ; Lyneham, HJ ; Bayer, JK (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2017-12-01)
    Despite growing recognition of childhood anxiety as a common and often debilitating clinical concern, we have limited knowledge of the particular ways in which anxiety interferes with daily life for young children who have not yet entered formal schooling. The present study evaluated the psychometric properties of the Child Anxiety Life Interference Scale - Preschool Version (CALIS-PV). The CALIS-PV is a brief (18 item) parent-report measure of the impacts of a young child's anxiety on their own life and that of her or his parent. Participants were 784 parents of a child aged 3-7 years, who completed the CALIS-PV as a part of the follow-up assessment battery for two anxiety prevention trials targeted at preschool children with temperamental inhibition. Confirmatory factor analysis supported three CALIS-PV factors reflecting anxiety-related life interference at home, outside home and on parent life. The three factors showed good internal consistency and good convergent and divergent validity, and successfully differentiated children with and without an anxiety diagnosis. Findings provide initial support for the CALIS-PV as a reliable and valid measure of the daily life impacts of childhood anxiety for preschool-aged children and their parents.
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    Parents in prevention: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of parenting interventions to prevent internalizing problems in children from birth to age 18
    Yap, MBH ; Morgan, AJ ; Cairns, K ; Jorm, AF ; Hetrick, SE ; Merry, S (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2016-12-01)
    PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH: Burgeoning evidence that modifiable parental factors can influence children's and adolescents' risk for depression and anxiety indicates that parents can play a crucial role in prevention of these disorders in their children. However, it remains unclear whether preventive interventions that are directed primarily at the parent (i.e. where the parent receives more than half of the intervention) are effective in reducing child internalizing (including both depression and anxiety) problems in the longer term. PRINCIPAL RESULTS: Compared to a range of comparison conditions, parenting interventions reduced child internalizing problems, at a minimum of 6months after the intervention was delivered. Mean effects were very small for measures of internalizing and depressive symptoms, and small for measures of anxiety symptoms. Pooled effects for anxiety diagnoses were significant and indicated a number needed to treat (NNT) of 10. Pooled effects for depression diagnoses approached significance but suggested a NNT of 11. These results were based on effects reported at the longest follow-up interval for each included study, which ranged from 6months up to 15years for internalizing measures, 5.5years for depressive measures, and 11years for anxiety measures. MAJOR CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the likely benefits of increasing parental involvement in preventing internalizing problems, particularly anxiety problems, in young people.
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    Quality of information sources about mental disorders: a comparison of Wikipedia with centrally controlled web and printed sources
    Reavley, NJ ; Mackinnon, AJ ; Morgan, AJ ; Alvarez-Jimenez, M ; Hetrick, SE ; Killackey, E ; Nelson, B ; Purcell, R ; Yap, MBH ; Jorm, AF (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2012-08-01)
    BACKGROUND: Although mental health information on the internet is often of poor quality, relatively little is known about the quality of websites, such as Wikipedia, that involve participatory information sharing. The aim of this paper was to explore the quality of user-contributed mental health-related information on Wikipedia and compare this with centrally controlled information sources. METHOD: Content on 10 mental health-related topics was extracted from 14 frequently accessed websites (including Wikipedia) providing information about depression and schizophrenia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and a psychiatry textbook. The content was rated by experts according to the following criteria: accuracy, up-to-dateness, breadth of coverage, referencing and readability. RESULTS: Ratings varied significantly between resources according to topic. Across all topics, Wikipedia was the most highly rated in all domains except readability. CONCLUSIONS: The quality of information on depression and schizophrenia on Wikipedia is generally as good as, or better than, that provided by centrally controlled websites, Encyclopaedia Britannica and a psychiatry textbook.