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Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Led by Professor Michael Sawyer

Optimal physical and mental health is important for strong and resilient communities. Unfortunately many mothers and children experience sub-optimal health and wellbeing; 13% of new mothers experience significant symptoms of depression, while at any single point in time 14% of children and adolescents experience mental health problems. What is concerning is the repeated finding that only a minority of those experiencing problems receive help from professional services. There is a strong requirement to develop new cost-effective interventions that will improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and their children in the general community.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health group works closely with clinical staff in the community child health service in South Australia to develop and evaluate new population-level interventions that have the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of the community. The effectiveness of interventions is assessed in clinical trials conducted as part of routine service delivery in the community child health service.

Michael and colleagues trialled the eMums program, a new intervention that combines the skills of community nurses and the Internet to reach large numbers of mothers. The effectiveness of this intervention was evaluated through a pragmatic preference randomised controlled trial conducted within the community child health service in South Australia. The final follow-up assessments for the trial were completed in late 2015 and the analysis of results and further development will occur in 2016.



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