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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 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.

Samuel Hockey

  • Samuel is a former National Mental Health Commissioner and a National Youth Mental Health Ambassador with a history in design. He currently works with the Brain & Mind Centre as a researcher in youth lived experience and suicide prevention.

Zoe Teh

  • Zoe is a research assistant and was previously a youth advisor on the #chatsafe project Orygen, When not working, she is completing her Masters of Organisational Psychology at Deakin, learning how to paint, and sings with Melbourne Indie Voices (currently a digital choir).

Taylor Johstone

  • Taylor is a 22 year old osteopathy student who is trying to use his experience of suicidality and mental ill health to improve the health outcomes for young people. He loves getting active outside and is a board member at Live 4 Life - a regional mental health education organisation.

Alexander Dalton

  • Alex is a 17 year old and the youngest panelist. He is part of the Youth Advocacy Group at headspace Werribee and has lived experience with suicidality, mental ill-health, and being tossed around the system.

Annabel (Annie) Griffin

  • Annie is a 23 year old Law and Communications student majoring in policy at UTS. Passionate about self-advocacy and constructive peer-to-peer dialogue, she seeks to shatter the stigma through imparting her lived experience as a speaker for batyr.

Finnian Gregor

  • Finnian is a 19 year old communications student of RMIT. As a wacky but sensitive kid from the Melbourne suburbs, he's always been passionate about tearing down mental health stigmas through the never-ending pursuit for truth and peace.

Jo Robinson

Ian Hickie

Webinar Flyer (PDF, 1.2 mb)

Webinar Slidedeck (PDF, 2.8 mb)

Webinar Transcript (PDF, 176 kb) 

Young and the Restless flyer

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

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)

A/Prof Jo-An Atkinson

Dr Frank Iorfino

Matthew Hamilton

A/Prof Kenny Lawson

  • Research Affiliate, Systems Modelling & Simulation

Julie Sturgess

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.”