10 October 2013 - WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY




 'YOUNG AND WELL – COOPERATIVE RESEARCH CENTRE'



G'day folks,

I have often stated on this blog that kids are our greatest resource and, from time to time I have posted information on a variety of health subjects like Depression and Bipolar Disorder. Well, as today is World Mental Health Day, I want to promote and highlight an organisation that is doing lots of good work for kids and for their mental wellbeing: 
YOUNG AND WELL – COOPERATIVE RESEARCH CENTRE. 

What is it? What does it do? Who is involved? Basically, it explores the role of technologies in improving young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Let them tell us more ...
 
The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre unites young people with researchers, practitioners, innovators and policy-makers from over 70 partner organisations across the non-profit, academic, government and corporate sectors. 

It explores the role of technology in young people’s lives, and how technology can be used to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 to 25. It also explores technologies as settings to promote cybersafety and strengthen the resilience, mental health and wellbeing of all young people.

This research program aims to investigate and build safe and supportive online environments and provide strategies and tools that promote cybersafety, mental health and wellbeing. This research targets all young people and is vital to prevent the onset of mental ill-health and disengagement.

The “Safe and Supportive” research program will focus on four key challenges: (1) digital citizenship and safety, (2) respectful relationships, (3) participation, and (4) help-seeking.

We will develop solutions using technology to promote cybersafety, strong and supportive relationships, good communication and life skills - all known to enhance a young person’s ability to manage, survive and thrive in the face of adversity.




The Challenge


Youth is a critical period for social and emotional development, a time when people face serious challenges like cyber bullying and discrimination. One in four young people experience mental health difficulties, disrupting relationships, education and work. Over 75% of mental illness and substance abuse occurs in the young, yet only 29% seek help. Poor mental health directly relates to suicide and violence.


In 2009 mental illness in young people cost Australia $10.6 billion, including lost productivity, welfare payments, health and carer costs. Suicide costs the Australian economy $17.5 billion annually.


Over 95% of young Australians use the Internet daily. An unprecedented opportunity exists to engage young people to utilise these technologies for cybersafety, mental health and wellbeing. This research is needed urgently.



Our Approach


The research conducted by the Young and Well CRC is underpinned by a belief in the strength and capacity of young people. Our Youth Brains Trust, made up of 18 young people, provides strategic direction to the Young and Well CRC with their voices valued alongside those of seasoned mental health reformers. Across our organisation and research programs, we work in partnership with young people and keep their needs, experience and knowledge at the centre of all of our activities.


Our unique approach brings together young people with researchers and innovators in technology in a way that is collaborative and values-driven. No other organisation has brought together these actors to investigate such an important area of need. Our values are: safe, supportive, connected, creative, and empowered. They guide our approach to work and we consider them in every decision we make.


The Young and Well CRC will promote cybersafety, mental health and wellbeing using three research programs. Learn more about our research here.



Our Research


Our three interconnected research programs are made up of diverse, innovative projects that consider all young people, young people who are vulnerable to ill mental health, and young people experiencing mental health difficulties. The research investigates the role of technology in these young people’s lives, and how technology can be used to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Broadly, our research programs will develop:

  • The first consolidated Australian data on young people’s technology use, available through DataLab and an online Knowledge Hub for researchers, policy-makers and the community;
  • Education and training programs for over 350 leaders in youth, technology, cybersafety, mental health and wellbeing;
  • Proven online services and tools used by young people and professionals for cybersafety, mental health and wellbeing, available through an Online Wellbeing Centre and Virtual Clinic; and
  • Resources that support parents, the community and professionals to respond to the cybersafety and mental health needs of young people.

We are building the Young and Well Network for youth, health and community sector organisations and academics with a mandate and mission to use technology to improve wellbeing. The Young and Well Network will facilitate adoption and application of our research outputs through networks that reach over one million young people in Australia.

Read more about our research here.


Our Impact


Over the next five years, our research will:

  • Enable young people to participate safely and confidently online;
  • Equip young people to shape their own futures and build the skills and personal networks to ensure they succeed in education, employment and volunteering;
  • Support young people within their families;
  • Empower young people to take part and be active in their communities; and
  • Strengthen early intervention and treatment to prevent mental health problems worsening.

Our Funding


The Young and Well CRC is established under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program, and is committed to working with the philanthropic, corporate and business communities to match funds and grow Australia’s investment in this much-needed area of research. Learn more about CRCs.



 Knowledge Hub


The Knowledge Hub will support multidisciplinary international research networks to support the Young and Well CRC's education and training programs and act as a centre of knowledge in the areas of youth culture, digital citizenship and e-mental health. The Knowledge Hub will grow over the next five years with the models, tools and insights developed by our research programs and related initiatives.

To keep up-to-date with the Knowledge Hub, join the Young and Well Network.


Partners


The Young and Well CRC is made up of over 70 organisations from across the not-for-profit, academic, government and corporate sectors who are united in using their expertise to utilise new and emerging technologies and methodologies to improve young people’s mental health and wellbeing. 


Our partner organisations collaborate to research, develop, promote, disseminate and evaluate tools, models, programs and services that use technology to improve mental health and wellbeing for young people.


Essential partners make significant cash and in-kind contributions per annum to the Young and Well CRC’s activities and are involved in organisational governance, program leadership and project management. Supporting partners also make cash or in-kind contributions and participate in research projects.


This world-first large-scale collaboration marks a unique opportunity for youth-focused organisations to enrich their work with new knowledge far greater and more valuable than could be achieved individually.


A number of Corporate Supporters also donate their time, skills and expertise to support the Young and Well CRC.





Our Patron, Prof Patrick McGorry AO 


Professor Patrick McGorry AO is a leading international researcher, clinician and advocate for mental health reform. 


Prof McGorry is Executive Director of Orygen Youth Health, a world-renowned mental health organisation for young people, and a partner in the Young and Well CRC, that has put Australia at the forefront of innovation in the prevention and treatment of mental illness. Prof McGorry is a director of headspace: National Youth Mental Health Foundation, also a partner in the Young and Well CRC. He believes that early intervention offers the greatest hope for recovery and therefore takes every opportunity to educate the community to recognise the early signs of mental illness, without stigmatising or discriminating. 


Prof McGorry was named as Australian of the Year in January 2010 in recognition of "his extraordinary 27-year contribution to the improvement of the youth mental health sector [that] has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people the world over." 

Prof McGorry was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in June 2010. 



You may like to read an interview conducted with Professor McGorry by one of Australia's sharpest journalists, Michael Short, who also happens to be on the board of this organisation.





 



Read more about our research here.

Clancy's comment: Anyone, or any organisation that helps young people to prepare for the future has to be a step in the right direction. I take my hat off to those involved in this organisation, and I encourage anyone to become involved.

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