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12 Nov, 2018

Australia to trial program to help young Australians deal with depression, anxiety

Canberra, Department of Health, 8 November 2018 – A thousand adolescents across the country will participate in a trial designed to prevent and reduce the risk of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

The Morrison Government will provide $210,000 to the Healthy Minds Program to trial the mental health and wellbeing project in 10 high schools.

The Healthy Minds Program is an award-winning psychological skills and wellbeing program delivered by accredited and specially trained professionals with the aim of preventing the onset of symptoms of depression and anxiety, while also reducing the risk of eating disorders.

Developed from research conducted in Australia at Flinders University, the program teaches specific skills associated with emotional wellness and resilience.

Schools will soon be invited to apply to participate in the trial, which will include eight weekly group sessions delivered by a psychologist to Year 8 students, corresponding classroom lessons, parent modules, and teacher training.

Around four million Australians experience a mental health condition every year.

People of all ages can be affected – either directly or because someone close to them might be suffering. Teenagers are not immune to the pressures of fast-paced life and the advent of social media has created a new source of stress.

Indeed, in 2015 it was estimated that approximately 560,000 children and adolescents aged 4-17 years experienced a mental illness. Giving teenagers skills to manage their mental health will help them better navigate the world now, and into the future.

The program aims to teach adolescents to become effective self-managers of their well-being through helpful thinking, understanding emotions, challenging perfectionism, stress management and self-compassion. It will help schools to support the well-being and mental health of kids so they are better able to respond to life challenges and live life to their full potential.