Griffith researchers awarded $5 million grant to help children’s mental wellbeing

Griffith University researchers are part of a multi-university team awarded a $5 million National Medical Health and Research Council grant to develop an online platform to help young people experiencing mental health problems.

Associate Professor Caroline Donovan, Professor Sue Spence and Associate Professor Lara Farrell are working with Professor Sonja March from the University of Southern Queensland who leads the project.

“This is the culmination of many years of research we have conducted in youth digital mental health,’’ Associate Professor Donovan says.

“It brings together a great team of Australian digital health researchers who are internationally regarded as experts in this field.

“Sonja March, Sue Spence and I have worked together in this area for the past 18 years, nationally disseminating our youth anxiety program to all Australian families. It is great to now extend this research to other mental health areas and to include colleagues from other universities.”

The grant, part of the Medical Research Future Fund’s Million Minds Mission initiative, will enable the researchers to develop a comprehensive online platform that integrates detection, assessment and tailored interventions addressing common mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, substance use and sleep problems.

About 560,000 young Australians experience a mental health issue each year, but only half seek help and only 3.3 per cent access specialist child and adolescent care.

The five-year project will be in partnership with local, state and national organisations and support agencies, including Education Queensland, Kids Helpline, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, West Moreton Hospital Health Service, Darling Downs, West Moreton Primary Health Network and Aftercare.

Other universities in the project include The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Federation University and The Australian National University.