Researchers from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and Swinburne University of Technology are urging young people from Queensland and Victoria to help shed light on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of young Australians.
The researchers have today launched the Impacts of COVID-19 on Youth Mental Health (MOMENT) survey to examine the effects of the past 12 months on the psychological wellbeing of 16 to 24 year olds.
The online survey will run for one month from 1 April 2021 and is open to participants living in Queensland and Victoria. The researchers want to recruit 600 participants from each state.
The lead Queensland researcher from QIMR Berghofer, Dr Emily Hielscher, said the MOMENT study has three key aims.
“We want to characterise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth mental health in Australia; explore the specific effects of extended lockdowns and restrictions on youth; and identify the specific factors that have influenced psychological wellbeing and the areas where more assistance and support should be provided,” Dr Hielscher said.
“The collection of data across Victoria and Queensland will allow us to compare the impacts on young people across the two states that had very different lockdown experiences, and highlight any gaps in how pandemic-related mental health problems are identified, treated and supported.
“We’re also hopeful it could improve our understanding of what strategies have been working for young people during the past year to maintain their mental health, which will inform a path forward to better supporting young people’s mental health during COVID-19 and beyond.”
The lead researcher from Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Mental Health, Dr Eric Tan, said his group’s previous research on the mental health effects of COVID-19 identified 18 to 24 year olds as being particularly vulnerable.
“Data from our ‘COVID-19 and you: mental health in Australia now’ (COLLATE) study revealed that since the pandemic began levels of stress, depression and anxiety were up to four times higher than typical levels in young people between the ages of 18 and 24,” Dr Tan said.
“We launched the MOMENT study to dig deeper into the experiences of young people through the previous year, so we can identify factors particular to this vulnerable group that might be contributing to any psychological distress or affecting their wellbeing.
“This important collaboration between Swinburne and QIMR Berghofer allows us to utilise the strengths of our respective teams to find the best ways to support young people during this pandemic and possibly other stressful situations into the future.”
The survey will be open on 1 April and closes midnight 30 April. Participation is voluntary and anonymous, and complies with the National Health and Medical Research Council statement on ethical conduct in human research.
People who want to participate in the survey can do so via this link: https://tinyurl.com/momentsy2021.
To organise an interview with Dr Emily Hielscher please contact Gail Burke from QIMR Berghofer on 0427179216 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To organise an interview with Dr Eric Tan please contact Cherish Philip George, from Swinburne University of Technology on +61 410 276 413 or email@example.com