Providing mental health support for youths affected by COVID-19

Image of a group of teenagers

This treatment program is aimed at equipping youths with the skills and strategies to manage anxiety and depression

A group of clinicians and researchers at the Swinburne Psychology Clinic have developed a mental health treatment program for youths experiencing distress related to COVID-19.

“We know from past research that at-risk youths between the ages of 13 and 18 can develop pandemic-related anxiety and depression with symptoms including sleep problems, contamination fears and feeling worried about family members getting sick,” says Psychology lecturer, Dr Chris Ludlow.

Equipping youths to manage anxiety and depression

To help these youths, Swinburne will be drawing on its expertise in treating child and adolescent mental health problems using cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and in delivering online psychological therapies.

The treatment program will include:

  • six sessions of online video counselling
  • teaching youths CBT skills to manage anxiety and depression
  • access to self-help materials that supplements therapy
  • optional parental involvement

The therapy will be delivered by intern psychologists and is guided by CBT principles.

This mental health treatment program will help youths experiencing pandemic-related distress

“The treatment program will provide youths with skills for managing pandemic-related worries. Youths will also be taught strategies to help them manage anxiety and depression unrelated to COVID-19, as pandemic-related distress can express itself in many different ways such as lack of sleep or worries about school,” Dr Ludlow explains.

“We hope to see improvements in mood and anxiety at the end of the treatment,” he adds.

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