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Confirmation of Candidature - Candidate: Kayhler Weeks

Mitigating the Costs of Caring: The development of a digital application to support caregivers of youth with mental health concerns.
22 NOV 2022
9.00 AM - 10.30 AM
The prevalence of mental health concerns in youth aged between 15 to 24 years is rising. Mental health conditions are commonly found to emerge during adolescence, with between 20 to 25% having a diagnosed mental illness. Despite such growing mental health concerns, recent surveys reveal that over a 12-month period, only 27.3% of youth with mental health difficulties and their families accessed mental health services. Caregivers play an important role in supporting youth with mental health difficulties. Yet, growing evidence suggests many caregivers feel they are not well prepared to provide care and support in a way that corresponds to the youth's mental health needs. Despite the complex demands associated with being a caregiver of youth with mental health difficulties, caregivers are required to transition into a mental health care role in the knowledge and skills to facilitate recovery and wellbeing. Parents feel ill-equipped to support their youth, and this lack of knowledge and skills increases the risk of caregiver strain and burden. Family-cented practice is an effective therapeutic approach that focuses on care planning, emotional and social support, and psychoeducation for family members, with an overarching goal to support both the individual (e.g., youth experiencing mental health difficulties) and their families. Despite the noted benefits of family-centred care, such practices often remain overlooked within the mental health-care system. This is particularly evident for youth 18 years and older who access adult mental health services. Personal recovery is an alternative, stigma-reducing paradigm of mental health concerns which is focused on the idiosyncratic journey of growth and development, supporting individuals to function to the best of their ability with or without symptoms or issues associated with their mental health. Personal recovery is different from 'clinical recovery', which aims to reduce psychiatric symptoms and restore function. Mike Slade and colleagues highlighted five basic components of personal recovery: connectedness, hope, identity, purpose, and empowerment (referred to in the acronym CHIME). The aims of the present research are to: (1) Understand the needs and roles of caregivers in promoting CHIME recovery needs in youth with mental health concerns, (2) assess existing interventions for elements that promote recovery-oriented caregiving practices amongst caregivers of youth with mental health concerns, and (3) assess the acceptability and feasibility of a brief intervention aimed at promoting recovery-oriented caregiving amongst caregivers of youth with mental health concerns.