Promoting youth mental health through computer-mediated communication

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Abstract

Young people aged 12-25 are now widely recognised to be the highest risk group for the development of mental health problems and mental disorders. Many health policies and interventions aim to address this high level of need, yet major barriers still remain to young people's timely access to the services they require to support their mental health. Fundamentally, young people prefer not to seek traditional professional help and, compounding this reluctance, sufficient resources are not available to provide the level and types of face-to-face service they require. Young people have a wide range of needs to promote their mental health, from basic information to high-level ongoing clinical support. As computer-mediated communication is an integral and accepted part of life for today's young people, appropriate information and communication technology (ICT) options supporting mental health must be facilitated. Such interventions are being developed at a rapid pace, and the field would benefit from a framework to incorporate these trends. It is time to examine what types of intervention are being developed, where the evidence for their effectiveness is accumulating, and the challenges and gaps that are emerging. This paper applies a mental health promotion approach to the developing field of ICT interventions for youth mental health, using the spectrum of interventions for mental health as a framework to examine current and potential opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-44
Number of pages13
JournalThe International Journal of Mental Health Promotion
Volume12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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