Mental Health Research

‘Longitudinal study of well-being and quality of life in remote Indigenous youth: the Biswun Kid Project’

University of Sydney, NSW
Awarded 2018

“The study will also increase the knowledge, skills and capacity of community members, health professionals and teachers, for the identification of difficulties in adolescence; identify gaps in child and adolescent service and facilities.”

Researcher Profile

Elizabeth Elliott is a Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney. She is Head of the NSW FASD Diagnostic Clinic; Co-Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in FASD; and a lead author of the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD.

Prof Elliott was on committees to develop NHMRC Australian Guidelines to minimise harms from alcohol and WHO guidelines for identification and treatment of substance use in pregnancy. Her research on FASD has provided new data about FASD epidemiology, diagnosis, management and its impacts in Indigenous and nonindigenous Australia.

Project Summary

The primary aim of the project is to improve health and wellbeing for young people living in remote Indigenous communities, with a focus on children with FASD, prenatal alcohol exposure and early life trauma. We will conduct interviews with youth from the Lililwan cohort, and their parent/carer and teacher. We will also collect health, education, justice, and child protection data.

Our specific aims are as follows.

  1. We will use data we collected in the Lililwan Project to identify the prenatal and early factors that predict positive and negative health and wellbeing outcomes in adolescence. This information will enable us to identify opportunities for intervention in pregnancy, early childhood, and primary school that will help promote a trajectory to a problem-free adolescence. Our learnings from this aim will be applicable to other remote Aboriginal communities across Australia.
  2. Through the voices of the youth who were part of the Lililwan cohort we will identify their aspirations, engagement in community and connections to culture and land.
  3. Through the voices of families, we will identify what the community wants and needs to promote adolescent health and wellbeing including access to services and engagement with community and education sectors.
  4. We will determine whether the Lililwan Project management plans were followed and identify service gaps and support needs. Such information is essential to inform future service planning and provision of specialised support.
  5. We will ensure that participants who express concerns or request further assistance are referred and seen by the relevant services.

Co-Investigators: Dr Tracey Tsang, Dr Lauren Rice, Ms Sue Thomas, Ms Marmingee Hand, Ms Emily Carter and Dr Sandy Whitehouse.