Research projects

Early intervention for anxiety disorders: A Delphi consensus study to find self-help messages suitable for population-wide promotion

Principal researcher

Ms Amy Morgan

Institution

University of Melbourne

Funding

$99,922

Award type

beyondblue Victorian Centre of Excellence

Project completion year

2015

Project brief

Anxiety is common in the Australian community and causes significant impairment in those affected. Treatment by mental health professionals is helpful when anxiety is severe, but may not be necessary for milder levels of anxiety. For mild anxiety symptoms, effective self-help techniques may be enough to improve mental health. Self-help techniques are things someone can do on their own, without a health professional, and are commonly used and often preferred to professional treatments. As mental health professionals are a limited resource, self-help approaches may free-up clinical resources for people with more severe problems. However, not all self-help techniques are helpful, and some may be harmful in the long run, such as drinking alcohol.

This research aims to identify which self-help techniques for anxiety are likely to be effective and can be used by an individual with minimal training, effort and cost. Experts who are either health professionals or people who have personal experience of an anxiety disorder will rate techniques that are claimed to be effective in the lay and scientific literature. These experts will come to a consensus on which strategies are likely to be effective, as well as feasible, to carry out. These strategies can then be promoted to members of the community as a way of empowering people with mild anxiety to improve their own mental health and prevent more severe anxiety from developing.

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