Research projects

Improving access to mental health services for young Australian males with anxiety problems

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Principal researchers

Associate Professor Jennifer Hudson
Professor Ron Rapee
Dr Heidi Lyneham
Dr Viviana Wuthrich

Institution

Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University

Funding

$178,184

Award type

beyondblue National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year

2015

Main messages

  • Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental health problem in adolescents.
  • Male adolescents are a difficult group to engage in mental health help seeking.
  • Students in the study had low rates of mental health help seeking.
  • The strategies we implemented in this study led to increases in engagement with the study webpages but not increases in help seeking or improvement in symptoms for adolescent males. Before funds are invested in universal campaigns, we need to investigate additional strategies to convert website engagement into help seeking.
  • Having an engaged, well-trained school counsellor who is well connected to the students and can identify children in need may lead to more service utilisation.
  • Adolescents participating in the Chilled Out online treatment program provided positive feedback about the program. This positive feedback suggests that providing adolescent boys the option of online treatment is warranted.
  • Students who accessed the Chilled Out program showed reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms. 
  • Information about anxiety needs to have a masculine tone, regard treatment as a way of achieving personal goals, and identify anxiety as a ‘real’ (i.e. can become severe) and treatable disorder.
  • We need to increase facilitation of confidential help-seeking options such as: 
    - positioning school counsellor offices away from public areas
    - providing additional roles for counsellors within schools so students would engage with them regularly for non-mental health purposes.
    - increasing options for young people to speak to professionals by internet/messenger/text.
Download the Increasing utilisation of mental health services for adolescent males with anxiety disorders full report.

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