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Youth mental health from a population perspective

Te titiro ki te hauora hinengaro o te rangatahi mā te tirohanga taupori

Monday 10 February 2020

The evening talk by Professor Anthony Jorm can now be viewed at Improving the mental health of the population. Is treatment working

Is youth mental health getting worse? If so, why? And what can we do about it?

Leading international and New Zealand experts will address these important questions, presenting cutting edge local and international research on youth mental health trends and their drivers. We will look at mental health as a community issue, a policy issue, and an equity issue, and consider: how can we make Aotearoa a place where it's easy for young people to be mentally healthy?

Symposium highlights will include preliminary findings hot off the press from the Youth’19 study, the latest in the Youth 2000 series by the Adolescent Health Research Group. The latest international evidence will be presented by Dr Margreet de Looze (Utrecht University, Netherlands), international expert on youth trends and a lead researcher on the World Health Organization’s Health Behaviour in School Age Children survey (HBSC). Professor Tony Jorm (Melbourne University) will talk about the Australian experience and explain why a preventive approach is vital, and Dr Keri Lawson-TeAho will provide an indigenous perspective on youth mental health.

This course is for people who want to:

  • be right up to date with mental health trends and the latest thinking on what is driving them
  • gain a deeper understanding of the changing social context influencing young people
  • explore population-level approaches to supporting mental wellbeing and preventing mental health problems in young people

Topics covered

  1. The latest New Zealand and international data on mental health indicators among young people
  2. The changing experience and context of adolescence. Why is youth mental health changing?
  3. Thinking beyond treatment services, how can we address youth mental health from a population perspective?

Style of course

Symposium – Multi-speaker presentations and panel discussion in lecture theatre setting

Who should attend?

This course is aimed at those with a professional interest in youth mental health e.g. policy makers, youth workers, social workers, school counsellors, youth health staff, health promoters, psychologists and researchers.

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
8:30am Registration  
9:00am Setting the scene:
  • What do we mean by ‘mental health’?
  • What is a population approach to mental health?
  • What the day will and won’t cover
Ruth Cunningham & Amanda Kvalsvig
9:30am New Zealand youth mental health trends
  • Youth 2000 trend data (2001, 2007, 2012, 2019)
  • Other indicators
Terry Fleming & Sue Crengle
10:30am Morning tea  
11:00am International youth mental health trends Margreet de Looze
11:30am International thinking on the causes of recent trends Margreet de Looze
Jude Ball
12:30pm Lunch break  
1:15pm  A framework for wellbeing Amanda Kvalsvig
1:45pm An indigenous perspective on rangatahi mental health Keri Lawson TeAho
2:15pm We need a greater focus on prevention Tony Jorm
2:45pm What does all this mean for policy & practice? Discussion
3:00pm Afternoon tea  
3:30pm Examples of what’s already happening in NZ at community and policy levels Panel
4:00pm How do we create an Aotearoa that is easy to be mentally healthy in? Panel discussion
5:00pm Finish  
5:30pm Summer School opening event. Speaker Professor Tony Jorm . (Optional)  

Speakers include:

  • Dr Margreet de Looze, Utrecht University, Netherlands
    Margreet is a leading international expert on youth trends, and the social forces that drive them. She will present the latest international data, based on the WHO's Health Behaviour in School aged Children (HSBC) study, which is conducted in over 30 countries in Europe and North America.
  • Professor Anthony (Tony) Jorm, Professor Emeritus, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne
    His research focuses on building the community's capacity for prevention and early intervention with mental disorders. He is Editor-in-Chief of Mental Health & Prevention, Associate Editor of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, Chair of the Board of Mental Health First Aid International and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Prevention United.
  • Dr Terry Fleming, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University
    Terry has published widely in youth health and spent many years working in South Auckland to develop innovative and responsive youth health services. She chairs the Adolescent Health Research Group which carried out the Youth2000 surveys among New Zealand high school students in 2001, 2007, 2012 and 2019, and will present emerging findings from the latest survey.
  • Associate Professor Sue Crengle (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha​), Public Health Medicine Specialist and Associate Professor Hauora Māori, University of Otago Dunedin & GP in Invercargill
    Sue is a senior Māori health researcher with a particular focus on health inequities and youth health. She is part of the Adolescent Health Research Group, and a lead author on Māori-specific Youth2000 outputs.
  • Dr Keri Lawson-TeAho (Ngāi Tāhu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata, Ngāti Porou), Lecturer, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington
    Keri is a highly esteemed researcher, author, and global leader on Māori and indigenous suicide prevention; historical trauma; takatāpui mental health and wellbeing; hauora Māori inequities; population-based indigenous mental health and rangatahi resilience.
  • Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington
    Amanda has a dual background in clinical paediatrics and epidemiology. Her research interests are centred on the social determinants of children's health and wellbeing. In a previous role at the Health Promotion Agency, she helped to develop a framework for child and youth wellbeing, providing conceptual underpinning to work in this space.
  • Dr Ruth Cunningham, Senior Research Fellow, Public Health Physician and Epidemiologist, University of Otago Wellington
    Ruth's recent work includes a focus on mental health epidemiology and the physical health of people with experience of mental health conditions.
  • Jude Ball, Research Fellow, University of Otago and Victoria University
    Jude has a background in mental health promotion and recently completed a PhD on trends in adolescent risk behaviours. She is currently working with Terry Fleming (VUW) on the analysis of the Youth '19 survey, as well as ongoing work on youth substance use at the University of Otago Wellington.

Panelists include:

  • Lia Apperley, Youth representative, Piki pilot.
    Lia is a youth representative for the development and delivery of the Piki youth mental health pilot. She is a third-year student at Victoria University, majoring in population health.
  • Ciaran Fox, All Right campaign, Mental Health Foundation
    Ciarán is the lead for All Right the campaign launched in 2013 to support Cantabrians as the region recovers from the earthquakes. He has a background in youth health, community development and the arts.

Course cost and registration

$300 early bird, $400 after 19 December 2019.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Youth Scholarships – We are offering several FREE places on the course for young people aged 16–24 whose work, volunteering or study has a youth development or youth mental health focus. Please email for application details. Applications close 19 December.

Note that there are also Māori and Pacific Summer School scholarships available for those studying or working in Māori or Pacific health.

Register now