Dr Talia Carl
Dr Talia Carl

Dr Talia Carl

‘Increasing access to evidence-based mental health interventions for child mental health for carers of Aboriginal children: The Growing Minds Check In (GMCI-A)

Child Behaviour Research Clinic, School of Psychology
University of Sydney, NSW
Awarded 2023
0-12 years Mental Health Research

“Aboriginal children are at higher risk for poor mental health, yet few caregivers receive services and supports, and many of those available are not culturally appropriate.”

Mental Health Research Grants

Researcher Profile

Dr Talia Carl is an early-career researcher and Lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of Sydney. Her doctoral research involved experimental and longitudinal studies examining the relationship between moral development, parenting and context on children’s lie telling and problem behaviours. She has also managed a number of large-scale clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of interventions for children’s mental health. Her research aims to understand the factors that impact child emotional and behavioural problems, and treatment response, in order to facilitate the development and implementation of interventions. She is also passionate about increasing access to evidence-based interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Australian children.

Project Summary

Aboriginal children face a heightened risk for developing mental health (MH) problems and experience disproportionally higher rates of MH related harm than non-Aboriginal children. Yet, Aboriginal children are considerably less likely to receive services and supports for social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). There is an urgent need to consult with Aboriginal peoples to identify culturally appropriate SEWB programs for caregivers and integrate them into a universal screening and triage tool.

Today, mainstream MH screening tools continue to be used without appropriate consideration of cultural differences. Although universal MH screening tools are often seen as a cost-effective way to increase early intervention by increasing help-seeking behaviour, there is often low acceptability of these tools and the linked mainstream services by Aboriginal communities due to cultural differences in the way MH is conceptualised. The Growing Minds Australia Check In (GMCI) is a parent-rated screening tool that promotes early intervention by identifying children at risk of problems with SEWB and linking caregivers with online services and supports. The focus of this project is on further developing a GMCI suitable for carers of Aboriginal children (GMCI-A). The primary aim of this project is to engage and conduct consultations with caregivers of Aboriginal children, and health care service providers for Aboriginal child SEWB in order to: 1) develop a list of culturally sensitive and appropriate referral pathways and SEWB programs for caregivers; 2) explore how the GMCI-A may complement existing initiatives for Aboriginal children; and 3) co-create the GMCI-A and examine its acceptability and preliminary effectiveness amongst caregivers of Aboriginal children.

Co-investigators: Dr Jaimie Northam, Professor Mark Dadds, Professor David Hawes, Dr Lucy Tully, Professor Ngiare Brown, A/Professor Dianne Shanley, Professor Patrick Olivier, Dr Trisha Nowland and Olivia Liew.

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