Our research is developing new options to help address the youth mental health crisis

Research shows that earlier intervention, targeted at the time of the onset of the mental health issues, can lead to better health outcomes in adulthood. It is estimated that about 50% of all mental disorders have their onset by age 14, and 75% by age 24. It is critical that we can target interventions early, before these conditions establish.

This is an area of focus for QIMR Berghofer’s passionate and committed researchers from the Child and Youth Mental Health laboratory, who are rallying to have a real impact.

Professor James Scott leads the Group at QIMR Berghofer. With almost 30 years of Clinical Psychiatry experience, Professor Scott knows the situation on the frontline is a true emergency.

Professor Scott said that studies have shown that cultivating a stronger sense of purpose can help promote psychological wellbeing and provide a buffer against mental ill-health. Professor Scott and his team has taken this on as a mission to assist struggling young people to regain a sense of purpose, to help reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, so that these problems don’t persist into adulthood or develop into more severe mental health issues.

Professor Scott and his team are developing new interventions that can help more young people, earlier when their symptoms arise, and provide a first line of intervention that can reduce strain on our overwhelmed health system.

Preliminary studies are showing that interventions that help young people find a sense of purpose are effective, as well as feasible and cost-effective – and importantly, potentially a scalable mechanism for preventing anxiety and depression in young people.

These programs can be rolled out across Australia, through cities and regions wherever help is needed. With long wait times to access mental health professionals, more scalable intervention programs like these are desperately needed.

Funding to develop and launch these programs is the vision for our Christmas Appeal. Your kind donations go directly towards supporting our researchers.

The community is now at crisis point. It is our children and grandchildren who are suffering, and their parents who are staying awake, watching, struggling to support them – the need is truly urgent. We need researchers and teams working with young people to start to light paths to recovery.

Your gift can help make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of Australian families, who urgently need your help.


Thank you for your support of youth mental health.

At QIMR Berghofer, 100% of your donation goes directly towards supporting medical research, to teams like the Child and Youth Mental Health Group.