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Future Proofing Our Response to Depression in the Young

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The Black Dog Institute is recruiting for its study Future Proofing, which is Australia’s largest-ever clinical trial into the effectiveness of mental health apps for preventing anxiety and depression in adolescents.

Interventions and especially tech driven ones have been identified as an effective tool to fight mental health issues in the young but more needs to be discovered, Future Proofing will help fill gaps in our knowledge.

The trial will be conducted in 400 schools and involve 20,000 Year 8 students, who will contribute important mental health information for the duration of the 5-year study. Exploring whether cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)-based apps are effective in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide risk, the study will also assess the apps’ impact on academic performance, sleep, physical wellbeing and drug and alcohol use.

At the same time, researchers will collect sensor data from smartphones such as GPS, sleep patterns and activity levels, linking these to student’s mental health information to develop reliable predictors for the onset of depression and anxiety symptoms in young people. Taken together, these two threads will give researchers unparalleled insight into how behaviour changes are linked to fluctuations in youth mental health.

This ground-breaking research is now underway, with Wave 1 launching in 14 NSW-based Independent schools in July and more than 30 schools set to join in coming months.

Researchers are calling for all NSW schools to join this vital study ahead of Term 2 2020, and interested schools can sign up by completing this online EOI form. There are also information packs available online with more details for schoolsparents and students.

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