Annual Highlights 2014-15: Reflections from our CEO

We are pleased to release the Young and Well CRC Annual Highlights 2014-15. Inside, our CEO, Associate Professor Jane Burns reflects on our 16 game-changing projects, advocating for the integration of face-to-face and online services to deliver a 21st century national mental health system, and exciting new announcements from the Young and Well CRC. Find her words below, and read them in full in our Highlights, along with our year’s standout successes. 

With seven people a day losing their life to suicide, the need for unity in the mental health sector has never been greater. It is time for coordinated action, and in our fourth year the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre has certainly embraced this philosophy with tenacity and perseverance.

We marked the beginning of this period providing advice on innovative technologies in e-mental health to the National Mental Health Commission, making a strong case for plugging technology into regional communities. We argued that the integration of face-to-face and online services is the only way to deliver a 21st century national mental health system. Australia is perfectly poised to leverage technology, particularly in the form of wearable devices and apps, to better connect with and support young people.

I’m proud to say that during this extremely busy period, we have marched towards meeting all of our Commonwealth Milestones, and – thanks to an incredibly hardworking and enthusiastic team, dedicated partners and new and emerging research leaders – we have exceeded our own goals and expectations.

We lead 16 game-changing major projects, including Synergy in partnership with the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney. Synergy includes front-end solutions, like gateway services, coupled with ‘backend as a service’ systems, which ensure interoperability and a sophisticated, seamless experience for young people. The behind-the-scenes technology is just as important as the gateway itself. This is because it allows continuous service improvement and ensures that people only need to tell their story once.

The Young and Well CRC prides itself on partnership. With the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Spark Strategy and Phoenix Australia we have explored how technologies can build the resilience of veterans and support their wellbeing. With the AFL Players’ Association, the Young and Well CRC and partners led a successful bid to develop an online initiative that brings young men together around sports, gaming and wellbeing, supported by Movember and with Asthma Australia we assisted in the development of the National Young People and Asthma Strategy.

Internationally, I was excited to be involved in Facebook’s Compassion Day, the Best Brains Exchange in Canada with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Mental Health Commission and to work across five countries with the Brain and Mind Centre on our Movember Global Health and Wellbeing Survey.

It was with great delight that I announced that Dr Michael Carr-Gregg would lead our Digital Education and Training arm, up-skilling professionals and encouraging them to use technology in their practice. Notably, Michael has created the world-first Certificate in Young People’s Mental Health and Technology, in partnership with Orygen, The National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health.

Reflecting on what has been another massive year, I am proud that we have put our young people at the centre of our research and reform agenda. Our Youth Brains Trust and our young emerging research leaders should be proud of the voice they have had in reimagining a 21st century model of mental health. We have listened to you; you are walking alongside us in this journey to fix a system that has fundamentally let down too many young Australians and their families.

I invite you to download and read the Young and Well CRC Annual Highlights 2014-15 in full.

13/07/2016 to 15/07/2016
Student Well-Being and Prevention of Violence Research Centre Conference
24/07/2016 to 27/07/2016
National Suicide Prevention Conference
28/07/2016 to 29/07/2016
SYHPANZ Conference – Absolutely Positively Youth Health
10/08/2016 to 12/08/2016
17th International Mental Health Conference
Posted: 16 December, 2015

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