Research projects

Awareness of beyondblue in Australian young people

Principal Researchers

Anthony Jorm Professorial Fellow,

Amy Morgan, Research Assistant

Institution

Orygen Research Centre, Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne

Funding

$50,000

Award Type

beyondblue Grant

Project completion year

2007

Project brief

Previous research has measured awareness of beyondblue in Australian adults, with the most recent figures indicating up to 62% of adults recognise beyondblue as an organisation associated with depression.  Awareness of beyondblue in young people has yet to be measured, however. As onset of depression and other mental disorders often occurs in youth, it is important to determine whether awareness of beyondblue and its messages have penetrated this age group. The research conducted by Orygen Research Centre and funded by beyondblue aimed to measure awareness of

beyondblue and Ybblue in young people and associations between awareness and measures of mental health literacy.

Key Findings

  1. The research found that there was an overall awareness of beyondblue in 44.0% of young people. 
  2.  The research found that 12.1% of young people spontaneously recalled beyondblue as an organisation related to mental health problems.
  3. Females were more likely than males to be aware of beyondblue (48.5% compared with 39.7%).
  4. Residents of state capital cities had lower awareness of beyondblue compared with rural or regional residents (41.2% compared with 49.3%). This is perhaps indicative of a rural specific media campaign launched by beyondblue during the survey component of the research.
  5. Those who were aware of beyondblue tended to have better mental health literacy, being better able to recognise depression in another person, and less likely to believe that dealing with depression alone is helpful.
  6. Awareness of beyondblue and consequently mental health was low in young adolescents, but generally increased with age.

Implications for Policy and Practice

Whereas there is a solid understanding of beyondblue, and consequentially improved mental health literacy amongst young people, there remains a need to more specifically target young people in relation to advertising and information dissemination around mental health. Because young people who could readily recall beyondblue had an increased understanding of mental health and particularly understood that help seeking was an important element to recovery it is therefore essential to acknowledge that focussed campaigning with particular focus on young adolescents and males is needed in future policy and practice areas.

Future Directions

The findings of the study are having a direct effect on the structure and messaging for young people from beyondblue and other youth related mental health organisations.

About the Researchers

Professor Anthony Jorm from the Orygen Research Centre, University of Melbourne. He is one of Australia’s leading researchers into mental health and mental illness and has a long standing interest in how research findings can best be applied in clinical and community settings. He initiated Australia’s Mental Health First Aid program.

Amy Morgan, Research Assistant, Orygen Health, B.A (Melboune University), B Applied Science (Hons) RMIT. Amy has conducted multiple research in relation to mental health and illness and particularly mental health and adolescents.

References

1. beyondblue: the national depression initiative. Available at URL: http://www.beyondblue.org.au . Accessed 22 November 2006.

2. Burns J, Stewart R. Evaluation Report: Ybblue _A Community Awareness Program for the Prevention of Depression in Young People. Melbourne: beyondblue, 2004.

3. Jorm AF, Christensen H, Griffiths KM. The impact of beyondblue: the national depression initiative on the Australian public’s recognition of depression and beliefs about treatments. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2005; 39: 248 _ 254.

4. Highet NJ, Luscombe GM, Davenport TA, Burns JM, Hickie IB. Positive relationships between public awareness activity and recognition of the impacts of depression in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2006; 40: 55_58.

5. Jorm AF, Christensen H, Griffiths KM. Changes in depression awareness and attitudes in Australia: the impact of beyondblue: the national depression initiative. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2006; 40: 42_ 46.

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