Centre for Youth Mental Health - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 749
Inside the black box of youth participation and engagement: Development and implementation of an organization-wide strategy for Orygen, a national youth mental health organization in Australia
AIM: The involvement of young people in the development, implementation and evaluation of youth mental health services, policy and research programs is essential to ensure they are appropriate and responsive to the needs of young people. Despite the increasingly central role that youth engagement and participation plays internationally, such activities are rarely described in detail. This article aims to provide a thorough description of the development and implementation of an organization-wide, 3-year Youth Engagement and Participation Strategy for Orygen, a national youth mental health organization in Australia. METHODS: A descriptive account of the development and implementation of the Strategy, with detailed examples of programs and initiatives. RESULTS: The Strategy was developed based on available evidence, focus groups with key stakeholders and best practice principles. The implementation of the Strategy resulted in a number of programs being delivered that involved a range of young people from across Australia. Despite being successful overall, a number of challenges were experienced. Ongoing considerations include ensuring diversity of partnerships, 'raising the bar' of youth participation and creating meaningful pathways. CONCLUSIONS: Youth participation and engagement within a youth mental health context is best seen as an evolving ambition that must remain flexible to the needs of all stakeholders. Despite some challenges and ongoing fine-tuning, it is possible to successfully implement youth participation and engagement across all areas of youth mental health, including service design and delivery, research and translation, and policy.
Omega-3 fatty acids and neurocognitive ability in young people at ultra-high risk for psychosis
BACKGROUND: Neurocognitive impairments are core early features of psychosis and are observed in those at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis. The aim of the present study was to explore whether neurocognition is associated with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), as has been observed in other clinical populations. METHOD: Erythrocyte levels of total omega-3-and omega-6 PUFAs the omega-3/omega-6 ratio, were measured in 265 UHR individuals. Six domains of neurocognition as well a Composite Score, were assessed using the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia. Pearson's correlations were used to assess the relationship between PUFAs and neurocognition. All analyses were controlled for tobacco smoking. RESULTS: Verbal Fluency correlated positively with eicosapentaenoic acid (P = .024) and alpha-linolenic acid (P = .01), and negatively with docosahexanoic acid (P = .007) and Working Memory positively correlated with omega-3/omega-6 ratio (P = .007). CONCLUSIONS: The current results provide support for a relationship between Verbal Fluency and omega-3 PUFAs in UHR. Further investigation is required to elucidate whether these biomarkers are useful as risk markers or in understanding the biological underpinning of neurocognitive impairment in this population.
Evaluation of a Culturally Sensitive Social and Emotional Wellbeing Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Objective To evaluate Deadly Thinking, a social and emotional well‐being promotion program targeted to remote and rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Deadly Thinking aims to improve emotional health literacy, psychological well‐being and attitudes towards associated help‐seeking. Design Participants completed pre/post‐test evaluations via a brief self‐report survey immediately before and after the Deadly Thinking workshop. Setting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in rural and regional Australia. Participants Data were obtained from 413 participants (69.8% female, mean age 41.6 years), of whom 70.4% identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders. Intervention Deadly Thinking workshops involve participant's engaging with a series of videos and facilitated group discussions with other participants related to social and emotional well‐being topics relevant to individuals and communities. Main outcome measures Participants completed measures of psychological distress, suicidal ideation, substance use, changes in attitudes towards help‐seeking and help‐seeking intentions and satisfaction with the workshop. Additionally, participants in a train‐the‐trainer workshop rated their perceived confidence to deliver the program post‐workshop. Result Participants reported positive perceptions of community safety and well‐being and low rates of marked distress, with no significant difference between train‐the‐trainer and community workshop participants. Results indicated significant improvement in help‐seeking intentions post‐workshop and high rates of satisfaction with workshop components. Conclusion Initial evaluation indicates good acceptability and feasibility of delivering the Deadly Thinking program in rural and remote Indigenous communities; however, more robust evaluation of the program is warranted using controlled conditions to measure effectiveness, particularly for changing in help‐seeking behaviour.
Telephone-based motivational interviewing enhanced with individualised personality-specific coping skills training for young people with alcohol-related injuries and illnesses accessing emergency or rest/recovery services: a randomized controlled trial (QuikFix)
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Recent meta-analyses of motivational interviewing (MI) for reducing risky alcohol use in young people have reported modest effects. Few studies have targeted individual patient factors to increase MI effectiveness. This study determined if MI enhanced with individualised personality-specific coping skills training (QuikFix) was more efficacious than standard MI or an assessment feedback/information (AF/I) control among young people with alcohol-related injuries or illnesses. DESIGN AND SETTING: Single-centre, single-blind, three-group superiority randomized controlled trial with 1-, 3-, 6- and 12-months follow-ups. Telephone intervention, Brisbane, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 398 young people (16-25 years; M age = 20.30 years, SD = 2.12; 54% female) with alcohol-related injuries and/or illnesses were recruited from an emergency department (ED) or rest/recovery service (RRS). MEASURES: The primary outcome was total standard (10 g ethanol) drinks in the past month (Timeline Follow back [TLFB]) at 12 months (primary time point). Secondary outcomes were total drinking days and standard drinks per drinking day (TLFB) in the past month and the frequency of alcohol-related problems in the past 3 months (Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index). INTERVENTIONS: Young people were randomized to two sessions of QuikFix enhanced with individualised personality-specific coping skills training (n = 132), two sessions of MI (n = 136) or one session of AF/I (n = 130), all delivered by telehealth. FINDINGS: QuikFix resulted in greater reductions (all P < 0.0017) in the primary outcome of total standard drinks (M = 19.50, CI 99.75% = [11.31, 27.68]) than both MI (M = 32.61, CI 99.75% = [24.82, 40.40]; Cohen's D = 0.40) and AF/I (M = 34.12, CI 99.75% = [26.59, 41.65]; D = 0.45) at 12 months (retention n = 324/398, 81%). QuikFix had greater reductions on drinking days (M = 3.16, CI 99.75% = [2.37, 3.96]) than both MI (M = 4.53, CI 99.75% = [3.57, 5.48];D = 0.38) and AF/I (M = 4.69, CI 99.75% = [3.73, 5.65];D = 0.42) and fewer drinks per drinking day (M = 5.02, CI 99.75% = [3.71, 6.33]) than AF/I (M = 7.15, CI 99.75% = [5.93, 8.38;D = 0.47) at 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Young people with alcohol-related injuries and/or illnesses who attended ED and rest/recovery services and received an individualised personality-specific coping skills training intervention (QuikFix) had greater reductions in the amount of alcohol consumed at 12 months compared with those who received motivational interviewing or an assessment feedback/information intervention.
The influence of stage of illness on functional outcomes after psychological treatment in bipolar disorder: A systematic review
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to advance understanding of stage of illness in bipolar disorder (BD), by interrogating the literature for evidence of an influence of stage of illness on functional (ie non-symptom) outcomes following psychosocial intervention. METHODS: A systematic literature search following PRISMA guidelines was conducted to identify empirical studies of psychosocial interventions for established BD. To investigate stage as a predictor of three functional outcomes (general/social functioning, cognitive functioning and quality of life [QoL]), study samples were dichotomised into earlier and later stage using proxy measures identified in existing staging models. Findings were integrated using data-based convergent synthesis. RESULTS: A total of 88 analyses from 62 studies were identified. Synthesis across studies suggested that psychosocial intervention was more likely to be effective for general functioning outcomes earlier in the course of established BD. No stage-related differences were found for cognitive or QoL outcomes. Exploratory investigations found some evidence of an interaction between specific intervention type and stage of illness in predicting outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: A novel systematic review provided preliminary evidence that benefits general/social functioning may be more pronounced in earlier versus later stages of established BD. The review also generated hypotheses about a potential three-way interaction, whereby specific psychosocial interventions may be best placed to target functional outcomes in earlier versus later stage BD. The strength of conclusions is limited by the overall low-quality and significant heterogeneity of studies. Further research is urgently required to understand the impact of illness stage on the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions.
Extinction and drug-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking following self-administration or conditioned place preference in adolescent and adult rats
Adolescence marks a particularly vulnerable period to developing substance use disorders, and people who start using drugs in adolescence are more likely to relapse. A limited number of studies have investigated age difference in relapse following re-exposure to the drug after a period of abstinence. Using a cocaine self-administration paradigm, we showed no age difference in acquisition or extinction of self-administration. Interestingly, adolescent rats displayed impaired cocaine-primed reinstatement of cocaine seeking. Using the same dose as that self-administered in the first experiment, we then investigated age differences in acquisition and extinction of conditioned place preference, as well as locomotor sensitization. While there were no differences in locomotor activity or acquisition of preference, adolescents failed to extinguish their preference, even when the number of extinction sessions was doubled from what adults received. Taken together, these results suggest that while cocaine has similar rewarding and reinforcing effects regardless of age, adolescents may attribute stronger salience to the drug-associated context. In addition, re-exposure to cocaine itself may not be a strong relapse trigger in adolescence. Overall, these findings suggest that we should focus more on alleviating drug-context salience compared to re-exposure to substance in order to reduce relapse of drug seeking in adolescents.
Speech in children with cerebral palsy
AIM: To examine the frequency, characteristics, and factors associated with speech delay and disorder in a community sample of children with cerebral palsy (CP). METHOD: Participants were 84 children (37 females, 47 males; aged between 4y 11mo-6y 6mo) with CP identified through a population-based registry. Speech and oromotor function were systematically evaluated to provide a differential diagnosis of articulation, phonological, and motor speech disorders. RESULTS: In total, 82% (69/84) of participants had delayed or disordered speech production, including minimally verbal presentations (n=20). Verbal participants (n=64) presented with dysarthria (78%), articulation delay or disorder (54%), phonological delay or disorder (43%), features of childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) (17%), or mixed presentations across these conditions. Speech intelligibility was poorest in those with dysarthria and features of CAS. Speech delay or disorder in verbal participants was associated with language impairment (p=0.002) and reduced health-related quality of life (p=0.04) (Fisher's exact test). Poorer speech accuracy (i.e. lower percentage consonants correct) correlated with greater impairments in both language (p<0.001) and oromotor function (p<0.001) (Spearman's test). INTERPRETATION: The speech profile of children with CP is characterized by impairment at multiple levels of speech production (phonetic, cognitive-linguistic, neuromuscular execution, and high-level planning/programming), highlighting the importance of a personalized differential diagnosis informing targeted treatment.
Prediction of clinical outcomes beyond psychosis in theultra-highrisk for psychosis population
AIM: Several prediction models have been introduced to identify young people at greatest risk of transitioning to psychosis. To date, none has examined the possibility of developing a clinical prediction model of outcomes other than transition. The aims of this study were to examine the association between baseline clinical predictors and outcomes including, but not limited to, transition to psychosis in young people at risk for psychosis, and to develop a prediction model for these outcomes. METHODS: Several evidence-based variables previously associated with transition to psychosis and some important clinical comorbidities experienced by ultra-high risk (UHR) individuals were identified in 202 UHR individuals. Secondary analysis of the Neurapro clinical trial were conducted to investigate the associations between these variables and favourable (remission and recovery) or unfavourable (transition to psychosis, no remission, any recurrence and relapse) clinical outcomes. Logistic regression, best subset selection, Akaike Information Criterion and receiver operating characteristic curves were used to seek the best prediction model for clinical outcomes from all combinations of possible predictors. RESULTS: When considered individually, only higher general psychopathology levels (P = .023) was associated with the unfavourable outcomes. Prediction models suggest that general psychopathology and functioning are predictive of unfavourable outcomes. CONCLUSION: The predictive performance of the resulting models was modest and further research is needed. Nonetheless, when designing early intervention centres aiming to support individuals in the early phases of a mental disorder, the proper assessment of general psychopathology and functioning should be considered in order to inform interventions and length of care provided.
Factors associated with hypertension and its management among older rural Australians
OBJECTIVES: Hypertension is a leading risk factor for death and disability. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of hypertension in an older rural Australian cohort and identify predictors of hypertension management. DESIGN: Analysis of cross-sectional data collected from participants in a prospective cohort study. SETTING: The Victorian rural towns of Morwell and Sale in 2018-2019. PARTICIPANTS: A weighted random sample of 1119 eligible participants from Morwell or Sale, aged ≥55-90 years for men and ≥60-90 years for women, was drawn from the Hazelwood Health Study's Adult Survey cohort. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Blood pressure, body mass index, left ventricular hypertrophy by electrocardiogram, estimated glomerular filtration rate and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c ) were measured. Participants with hypertension were categorised as managed, undermanaged or unmanaged. RESULTS: Testing undertaken of 498 participants estimated the weighted prevalence of hypertension (defined as blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mm Hg, a self-reported doctor diagnosis of hypertension or taking antihypertensive medication) to be 79.9% (95% confidence interval: 75.7-83.4). Of those, 54.5% (49.4-60.0) had managed hypertension (<140/90 mm Hg), 37.1% (32.3-42.1) undermanaged hypertension and 8.4% (5.9-11.9) a new finding of hypertension (unmanaged hypertension). Current employment (relative risk 1.47, 95% confidence interval: 1.06-2.02) and single marital status (relative risk 1.45, 1.4-1.84) were associated with under- or unmanaged hypertension. Compared with no hypertension, the hypertensive groups were more likely to demonstrate markers of end-organ damage such as left ventricular hypertrophy and impaired renal function. CONCLUSION: Hypertension is a highly prevalent condition among older rural Australians which is suboptimally identified and managed.
International application of standards for health care quality, access and evaluation of services for early intervention in psychotic disorders
AIM: Standards for health care quality, access and evaluation of early intervention in psychosis services are required to assess implementation, provide accountability to service users and funders and support quality assurance. The aim of this article is to review the application of standards in Europe and North America. METHODS: Descriptive methods will be used to illustrate the organizational context in which standards are being applied and used, specific measures being applied and results so far. RESULTS: Both fidelity scales and quality indicators of health care are being used. Fidelity scales are being applied in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy and United States. In England, quality indicators derived from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance are being used. CONCLUSION: In the last 4 years, significant progress has been made in the development and application of measures that assess quality and access to evidence-based practices for early intervention in psychosis services. This represents an important step towards providing accountability, improving outcomes and service user experience. The methods used allow for comparison between the services that are assessed with the same methods, but there is a need to compare the different methods. Further research is also required to explore links between quality of care and outcomes for community mental health services that deliver early intervention in psychotic disorders.
Cognitive and emotional empathy in individuals at clinical high risk of psychosis.
BACKGROUND: Impairments of social cognition are considered core features of schizophrenia and are established predictors of social functioning. However, affective aspects of social cognition including empathy have far less been studied than its cognitive dimensions. The role of empathy in the development of schizophrenia remains largely elusive. METHODS: Emotional and cognitive empathy were investigated in large sample of 120 individuals at Clinical High Risk of Psychosis (CHR-P) and compared with 50 patients with schizophrenia and 50 healthy controls. A behavioral empathy assessment, the Multifaceted Empathy Test, was implemented, and associations of empathy with cognition, social functioning, and symptoms were determined. RESULTS: Our findings demonstrated significant reductions of emotional empathy in individuals at CHR-P, while cognitive empathy appeared intact. Only individuals with schizophrenia showed significantly reduced scores of cognitive empathy compared to healthy controls and individuals at CHR-P. Individuals at CHR-P were characterized by significantly lower scores of emotional empathy and unspecific arousal for both positive and negative affective valences compared to matched healthy controls and patients with schizophrenia. Results also indicated a correlation of lower scores of emotional empathy and arousal with higher scores of prodromal symptoms. CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that the tendency to 'feel with' an interaction partner is reduced in individuals at CHR-P. Altered emotional reactivity may represent an additional, early vulnerability marker, even if cognitive mentalizing is grossly unimpaired in the prodromal stage. Different mechanisms might contribute to reductions of cognitive and emotional empathy in different stages of non-affective psychotic disorders and should be further explored.