Flattening the curve, mental health

Flattening the mental health and suicide curve post-COVID-19

Beyond prevention, which active interventions will help?

A series of webinars that will discuss dynamic models and interventions to inform decision-makers responding to the mental health and suicide prevention crisis due to COVID-19.

Catch up on Webinar 4 - It Takes a Village

Webinar 4 - It Takes a Village

As part of the #FlattentheMentalHealthCurve webinar series, this webinar focused on youth mental health from the perspective of seven carers who have had experience in or are ongoingly supporting their young person to naviagte the mental health system. This webinar, led by the carers themselves, explored topics such as the difficulties in supporting loved ones with suicidal thoughts and behaviours. We openly discuss the potential to make positive changes to mental health advocacy, access, stigma and discrimination to #FlattentheMentalHealthCurve

Webinar Slidedeck (pdf, 2mb)

Webinar Q&A (pdf, 39kb)

Catch up on Webinar 3 - Young and the Restless

Webinar 3 - The Young and the Restless

Hosted by two young people, Samuel and Zoe, the webinar will take the form of a panel discussion with five other young people each with their own lived experience of suicide.

‘Lived experience’ in suicide takes many forms, for example it may mean that someone has experienced a suicidal crisis or attempt of their own; it may mean they have lost someone to suicide; or it may mean that they have supported a friend or family member who has been suicidal. Whatever that experience is it plays a critical role in shaping suicide prevention now and into the future. However, whilst the suicide prevention sector has embraced the

need for people with lived experience to help shape suicide prevention, there is currently an absence of young voices, and we know that young people’s experiences and needs can be very different from those of older people.

Given that suicide rates are rising among young Australians there is an urgent need to do things differently and if we are to do this successfully we need to listen to the wants and needs of young people.

In this webinar we will explore the following questions:

  • What does lived experience look and feel like for young people?
  • What are young people’s experiences of seeking help for suicidal thoughts and behaviours; what worked well and what didn’t?
  • What is safe communication and advocacy in suicide prevention from the perspective of young people?
  • What is the role of stigma/discrimination and how might we address this?
  • What would young people like to see suicide prevention look like now and into the future?

We hope that the webinar will help amplify the voices of young people in suicide prevention and raise some questions about how we currently do things and how we might do them differently in the future.

Webinar Flyer (PDF, 1.2 mb)

Webinar Slidedeck (PDF, 2.8 mb)

Webinar Transcript (PDF, 176 kb) 

Catch up on Webinar 2

COVID-19 & mental health presentations to EDs: #FlattentheMentalHealthCurve through innovative service models

Webinar resources

As part of the #FlattentheMentalHealthCurve webinar series, the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre hosted: COVID-19 & mental health presentations to EDs: #FlattentheMentalHealthCurve through innovative service models on Wednesday, 24 June 2020.

The webinar explored real-life examples from key experts (such as Professor Pat McGorry) as well as the presentation of modelling outputs using large data sets to inform how we can collectively be part of the solution to decrease mental health emergency department/ hospitalisation presentations in Australia both during and post-COVID-19.

Facilitated by Professor Ian Hickie, this conversation with leading administrators, clinicians, researchers, and ambassadors for mental health explored solutions that lead to immediate efficiencies in mental health service delivery, to ultimately, ensure better mental health care for the Australians who need it most both during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flattening the mental health and suicide curve post-COVID-19

Flattening the mental health and suicide curve post COVID-19

This webinar discussed dynamic models to inform decision-makers to best respond to the mental health and suicde prevention crisis due to COVID-19. #FlattentheMentalHealthCurve

Access the speakers slides here (PDF, 7.4 mb).

Access the text based Q+A session here (PDF, 128 kb).

A transcript of the webinar can be downloaded here. (PDF, 436 kb)

National Mental Health Response Plan

YOUTHe Investigators welcome the National Cabinet’s announcement of the National Mental Health Response Plan, which commits an additional $48.1 million to mental health. The Brain and Mind Centre’s co-director, health and policy, Professor Ian Hickie, said Australia was at a critical juncture for mental health and suicide prevention.

“We have the opportunity to work collectively to harness a coordinated response to a national issue, ensuring it reaches those regions and individuals who will be most affected.

“We welcome the commitment of the national cabinet to work collaboratively on a response that is underpinned by research, real-time data, community outreach and engagement and a support for vulnerable people and communities. The three pillars of the Response Plan include support for research and real-time data, outreach to vulnerable communities, and a national communication strategy.”

The Brain and Mind Centre’s Systems Modelling and Simulation head, Associate Professor Jo-An Atkinson, welcomed Christine Morgan’s commitment to bringing the best minds in mathematical modelling of mental health and economics together with diverse community perspectives to help navigate a path through the mental health challenges ahead.

“Australia is leading the world in applying the same rigor to planning effective mental health responses as seen in the approach to the COVID-19 crisis. The mental health, and mental wealth of Australia is too important to leave to guesswork,” Associate Professor Atkinson said.

The way forward

Given the dynamic modelling work conducted by the Brain and Mind Centre and released publicly over the last two weeks, and presented to Minister Hunt and the Government in the lead up to this meeting, Professor Ian Hickie welcomed the emphasis on using predictive modelling, ongoing surveillance of mental health problems and real-time reporting of national data as one of the plan’s key pillars.

“Modelling predictions are one part of wider research into interventions and investments that will create the best outcomes for people. With investment in real-time data and targeted outreach, we can start to reach the people who need support, Professor Hickie said.

“However, much more is required in the fundamental rearrangement of how we use both our public and private health services to care for those most in need.

“In the wake of this week’s job loss figures, and massive rise in unemployment and underemployment, we need services to connect with people now. Those already in difficulty need to stay connected with services. People need to know that all our service organisations are working together to provide support where, and when it’s needed.”