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Black Dog Institute and Everymind to launch Australia’s first ‘Prevention Hub’

The Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, launches largest ever integrated research initiative into anxiety and depression

The Turnbull government has launched a research hub with Australia’s leading mental health organisations to prevent anxiety and depression.

The Prevention Hub’s $5 million funding will unite the Black Dog Institute and Everymind to collaborate on research, clinical education and policy experts to work on developing and implementing prevention strategies.

Director of the Black Dog Institute, Helen Christensen, said that Australia has never had a dedicated initiative that investigated prevention intervention techniques.

“Effective interventions can prevent the development of anxiety and depression, delay the onset of these conditions and reduce the severity, duration and impact of symptoms through early detection and timely treatment,” Christensen said.

“To achieve this, we must take what we know about the prevention of anxiety and depression and put it into practice in a wide range of settings.”

Nearly half of all Australians will experience mental illnesses in their lifetime but research has shown that around 20 per cent of cases could be prevented by delivering timely evidence-based prevention programs across different sectors.

The NSW-based Hub will focus on delivering preventative strategies in the workplace, education and healthcare by rolling out and testing mental health tools and support programs.

A statement from Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt, said: “This could potentially prevent thousands of cases of depression and anxiety each year.”

Everymind Director, Jaelea Skehan, said the “funding will enable us to combine our skills, leverage relationships and build effective and streamlined programs for addressing the risk factors associated with anxiety and depression.”

An online school-based program by the Black Dog Institute, Smooth Sailing, is among the interventions to receive funding to be trialled within The Prevention Hub.

Christensen said the program will enable students to engage with evidence-based programs and monitor the risk of those who have slipped through the cracks.

“One in four Australian school-aged kids experience anxiety and depression, yet unlike skin cancer prevention, to date we have placed little emphasis on preventative mental health in schools,” Christensen said.

An online prevention program by Everymind, Partners in Depression, will also be trialled as part of the funding with a focus on researching rural families.

“We applaud Minister Hunt’s vision to take action now so we can change the futures of individuals and families across Australia,” Skehan said.

“The Prevention Hub will help us bring the solutions we know for preventing anxiety and depression to Australians at unprecedented levels.”

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