As part of an ongoing program to monitor the wellbeing of Australian children, we recently conducted Young Minds Matter: the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. This survey provided a wealth of information which researchers at the Institute and at the University of WA are continuing to analyse as part of our ongoing research program to help inform mental health services and policies, and to ensure they keep up with changing needs.
Our researchers believe if they can stop mental health problems from developing, they can save individuals and families from distress and save significant resources for the health system. Therefore, much of their work is dedicated to understanding how and why mental health problems develop and what the risk factors may be during early life and on into adolescence.
Based on research conducted to date, further work will focus on understanding issues such as:
- Bullying, including the influence of social media and cyberbullying
- Self-harm and suicidal behaviours, including the influence of social media and cyberbullying
- Levels of engagement in risky behaviour linked to mental disorders, such as binge drinking or illicit drug use
- How family dynamics can impact on children’s mental health
- The impact of mental disorders on educational outcomes
- Ways to improve the delivery of mental health services for children and families who need them.