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InPsych 2016 | Vol 38

December | Issue 6

Psychology in current issues

Psych online...

Psych online showcases mental health and wellbeing apps and online sites to assist APS psychologists inmaintaining up-to-date knowledge of online mental health and wellbeing services.

Helping older adults manage depression and anxiety

The program: Wellbeing Plus Course
Developer: eCentreClinic and beyondblue

The Wellbeing Plus Course is a free online treatment program for adults aged 60 years and older. It is designed to help older adults learn to manage mild, moderate and severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. The following psychological skills are outlined throughout the course:

  • Recognising the symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Challenging unhelpful thoughts and beliefs
  • Managing physical symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Learning to safely confront things you are afraid of/avoiding
  • Tips on how to stay well once the course has finished.

The Wellbeing Plus course consists of five lessons that are offered over an eight-week period (four hours per week). Issues specific to older adults are highlighted throughout the course, for example, changes in roles, changes in health and maintainingindependence. DIY guides and other useful resourcesare also offered to participants.

Improving the mental health of same gender attracted youth

The program: Out & Online
Developer: Swinburne University ofTechnology, Federation University Australia, Deakin University and the ALSO Foundation

Same gender attracted youth experience higher rates of mental health problems and experience difficulties accessing specialist mental health care, compared to heterosexual youth. To help address these difficulties, a group of Australian researchers have developed an online program titled Out & Online for same gender attracted young adults aged 18–25 years.

Out & Online provides early intervention for symptoms of depression and anxiety, however, it is not suitable for individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. The program is comprised of eight modules which draw on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles and teach the following skills:

  • Changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviours
  • Improving communication skills
  • Improving social relationships
  • Learning how to cope with challenges.

The program is completed over an eight-week period (one module per week) and includes a range of interactive learning modalities, including videos, downloadable audios, online activities, information sheets and links to external services. At the beginning of the program, participants are required to complete a number of surveys so that content can be tailored to their gender and their mental health symptoms can be addressed. Out & Online is free to access.

Preventing and treating childhood and adolescent anxiety

The program: BRAVE
Developer: University of Queensland, Griffith University and the University of Southern Queensland

Feelings of worry and anxiety are commonly experienced by young people and can impact their friendships, schoolwork, and general wellbeing. At the University of Queensland, a team of researchers has developed an interactive, online self-help program for the prevention and treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety. The BRAVE program is based on CBT principles and helps teach young people the skills they need toreduce feelings of anxiety and cope effectively with stressfulsituations.

Four versions of the BRAVE program have been developed, one for children aged between seven and 12 years, one for teenagers aged between 12 and 17 years, and two for parents (one for each age group). Young people and their parents have the ability to complete the program independently or together. The skills that are taught as part of the BRAVE program include:

  • Recognising the physical signs of anxiety
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Cognitive training (e.g., restructuring, positive self-talk, problem-solving)
  • Psychoeducation and contingency management techniques forparents.

Both the child and teen programs are comprised of 10 online sessions, while the parent program includes six sessions. Each session can take between 20 and 60 minutes to complete. Useful resources and activities are included throughout each session to help encourage children and their parents to apply these skills in the real world.

Want to find more mental health apps and online resources?

ReachOut.com has developed a Toolbox which highlights a range of health and wellbeing apps endorsed by health professionals.


Disclaimer: Published in InPsych on December 2016. The APS aims to ensure that information published in InPsych is current and accurate at the time of publication. Changes after publication may affect the accuracy of this information. Readers are responsible for ascertaining the currency and completeness of information they rely on, which is particularly important for government initiatives, legislation or best-practice principles which are open to amendment. The information provided in InPsych does not replace obtaining appropriate professional and/or legal advice.