Mental Health Research

‘The Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative for Youth (AIMhi-Y): Development Phase One’

Menzies School of Health Research
Awarded 2019

“Apps and other online resources offer the potential to reach young people who may not be able to access face to face services due to distance, stigma or shame.”

Researcher Profile

Josie is an Occupational Therapist who has lived and worked in the Northern Territory (NT) for 10 years, both in remote mental health clinical practice and research. She is part of the Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative (AIMhi) research program employed as a project manager. This program of research, beginning in 2003, aims to bring First Nations people of Australia’s worldviews into mental health treatment. Josie’s PhD project aims to draft a new culturally responsive mental health app, designed with and for First Nations youth to improve their access to culturally responsive mental health care.

Project Summary

The Aboriginal and Islander Mental Health Initiative for Youth (AIMhi-Y): Development Phase One project aims to complete the first phase of development of a new electronic mental health app co-designed with First Nations youth. Forty First Nations youth from remote and urban communities in the NT, aged 10-18 who attend two schools in Darwin and Tiwi Islands plus youth attending a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation service in Darwin are invited to a series of small group discussions.

Groups are facilitated by a Senior Indigenous Research Officer and the scholarship recipient. Group discussions explore mental health language and terms, current understanding, help seeking behaviours, and awareness and acceptability of mental health apps. Currently available apps are presented in the groups and discussions will explore what they like and do not like about them. A concurrent, online survey asks how young people use technology, which apps and programs they use and what attributes they like or do not like about them. A selection of young people from the group discussions, are invited to become peer researchers by supporting their peers to complete the online survey.  Findings are analysed by the research team in collaboration with the young people. Findings will inform the draft of a new mental health app that young people can access independently at any time with an aim to increase access to structured, culturally responsive, early intervention mental health care.

Supervisors: Dr Kylie Dingwall, Associate Professor Tricia Nagel, Associate Professor Anne Lowell, Dr Fiona Shand & Dr Michelle Sweet.