Research at headspace

Research at headspace

The Transitions Study

Team

A/Prof Rosemary Purcell, Prof Tony Jorm, Prof Alison Yung, Prof Ian Hickie, Prof Patrick McGorry, Prof Christos Pantelis, Prof Andrew MacKinnon, A/Prof Paul Amminger, A/Prof Eoin Killackey, Dr Lisa Phillips, Lisa Alwell, Toni Scaffidi, Daniela Spiliotacopoulos, Janet Po Yi Tong, Lara Taylor, Laura Mundy, Suzanne Wiltink, Natalia Zmicerevska, Amanda Kenyon, Alissa Nichles, Michelle Hopkinson.

Key achievements

  • To date, over 800 young people have consented to participate in the study and have completed their baseline assessments. The recruitment of the cohort will finish by July 31, 2012.
  • 1-year follow-up assessments commenced in Melbourne in February 2012 and at the Sydney sites in May 2012.
  • Baseline data analysis and the preparation of the first papers from the study will commence in late 2012.

Overview

The Transitions Study is a major cohort study that is recruiting a large cohort of young people aged 12-25 who are seeking help for mental health issues at headspace youth mental health services in Melbourne and Sydney. This research will test a clinical staging model as a new way of thinking about mental illness in young people. This new model provides a long-term perspective relevant to the progression of illness from an “at-risk” state, where young people are experiencing symptoms of psychological distress (usually depression and anxiety), through to the development of discrete mental health disorders such as depression, mania, substance dependence and psychosis. The cohort will be followed longitudinally in order to investigate what puts young people at risk of developing mental health problems and what puts them at risk for progressing onto more serious mental disorders. The model will have implications for the way mental illnesses are diagnosed and treated.

Participants in the Transitions Study are assessed at baseline, then followed-up annually to understand what factors predict improvement and what factors predict worsening of symptoms, particularly transitions between different stages of illness.

The Transitions Study is funded by a 5-year Program Grant from the NHMRC.


Simple Interventions Trial

Team

Dr Alex Parker, Dr Sarah Hetrick, A/Prof Rosie Purcell, Prof Alison Yung, Prof Tony Jorm, Prof Dan Lubman, Prof Pat McGorry; Prof Andrew Mackinnon, Faye Scanlan, Jessica Stephens, Toni Scaffidi, Shelley Baird

Overview

The Simple Interventions trial is a factorial randomized controlled trial offering a combination of psychological interventions (problem solving therapy or supportive counseling) and exercise interventions (behavioural exercise or lifestyle psychoeducation) to young people with depression and anxiety symptoms. The aims of this study are to evaluate whether treatments that are less intensive than cognitive-behaviour therapy, such as problem solving therapy and exercise treatments, are acceptable and effective in managing depression and anxiety symptoms in young people and to identify possible attributes in those who are likely to respond to these treatments.

The trial commenced in April 2009 and completed recruitment into the study in June 2012. A total of 177 young people consented to participate in the study. The study was well integrated into the clinical model operating at headspace Western and Northern Melbourne, and judging by attendance rates, offers treatments that are acceptable to the young people involved. Data analysis will occur throughout 2012-2013.