Current Mental Health First Aid Research Projects
Guidelines for financial counsellors in how to handle financial issues in clients with mental health problems
There is a need for specific guidelines for the Australian financial counselling sector in how to deal with debt problems in people with mental illness. We will use the Delphi method to gather the expert consensus of professionals with financial or mental health expertise, consumers and carers. Once developed, these guidelines will be freely available on the MHFA website and will be used to inform supplementary training resources to the Standard MHFA course.
We are looking for mental health consumers, mental health carers, mental health professionals, financial counsellors and financial institution staff to sit on a Delphi Expert panel for this project. More info here.
Guidelines on how to give Mental Health First Aid to Aboriginal adolescents
A Delphi consensus study will be undertaken, drawing on the expertise of the Aboriginal MHFA Instructors and other Aboriginal mental health professionals who have experience in working with Aboriginal youth. Once developed, these guidelines will inform a Youth Aboriginal MHFA supplementary booklet and a short film demonstrating how to give MHFA to an Aboriginal adolescent.
We are seeking 30 Aboriginal youth mental health professionals to participate on a Delphi Expert panel for this project. More info here.
First aid training for parents of teenagers
A large randomised controlled trial is being carried out to find out if providing Mental Health First Aid training to parents when their child is in early adolescence has a long-term benefit to their relationship with their child and to the child’s mental health. Mental health first aid training is being compared to Red Cross first aid training as a control. See www.tpot.net.au
Development and evaluation of teen Mental Health First Aid
The teen Mental Health First Aid Program (teen MHFA) is a new training course, currently in development, that will be designed for adolescents aged between 16 and 18 years, to be delivered in school classrooms or to groups or clubs of between 15-30 students. In 2012 we plan to evaluate the program by running it in a few Victorian Secondary schools and getting feedback from students and teachers. Once the evaluation is complete and the materials have been finalised, we will launch the program nationally.
Population Mental Health Group Projects
See their website for more information http://pmhg.unimelb.edu.au
Best-practice guidelines for return to work after an episode of anxiety or depression
The primary aim of this project is to assist organisations to implement best-practice guidelines in the area of return to work (RTW) after an episode of anxiety or depression. As part of this aim, a website incorporating expert recommendations on guideline implementation and case studies of successful implementation of RTW policies and practices from a variety of organisations was developed. The new RTW website, which focuses on actions that employers, employees, colleagues and family and friends can take to ensure that return to work is successful and that the risk of relapse is lower, is based on the newly developed Guidelines for helping employees successfully RTW following a mental health problem.
This project also aims to evaluate the usefulness and impact of the RTW Guidelines and website on a range of stakeholders, including: employers, supervisors, co-workers, employees returning after an episode of mental illness and their carers. This project builds on research previously funded by the Victorian Centre of Excellence (VCoE), the aim of which was to develop guidelines for organisations to help them facilitate successful RTW and prevent relapse for employees returning after an episode of anxiety or depression.
A website has been developed to provide parents with practical parenting tips that are supported by research evidence and endorsed by leading Australian experts. The website currently gives parents the opportunity to obtain immediate, personalised feedback on how they can more confidently manage the issue of adolescent alcohol use. A fully interactive online parenting program has been designed to help parents apply the recommended tips and troubleshoot the common challenges that may arise. Research is currently being carried out to expand the website to include parenting strategies to prevent adolescent depression and anxiety.
There is very little controlled trial data on what interventions work for what mental health problems in young people. To fill this gap with some data, a website has been set up to allow young people who have had mental health problems to rate the effectiveness of interventions they have tried. The website covers a wide range of possible interventions and disorders.
Guidelines for caregivers of people with bipolar disorder have been produced from the consensus of clinicians, consumer advocates and caregiver advocates. These guidelines have been used as the basis for a caregiver website. Research is being carried out on the usefulness of the guidelines and website to caregivers and consumers.
This study investigated whether an email-based mental health promotion campaign can helped improve depression symptoms. Participants received regular emails with information or self-help advice about depression. The goal was to help reduce the population burden of depression with an intervention that can be widely disseminated at low cost. Results have now been published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.
National surveys of mental health literacy and stigma
Two large national surveys of the Australian public have been completed. One involved 6000 adults aged 15+ years and the other 3000 young people aged 15-18 years. The data will be published progressively over the next few years.
Mindwise is a large randomised trial to improve student and staff mental health at Victoria University. The trial aims to reduce the impact of depression, anxiety disorders and alcohol misuse, which are the major mental health problems in tertiary students.