Young People Technology and their wellbeing

Presentation First Author: 
Jane Burns

International research clearly indicates that the prevalence of mental disorders is high, comorbidity is common and the pathways that lead to illness are complex. Approximately half of the worldwide population meets the criteria for one or more mental disorders in their lifetime with 75% of mental disorders present before age 24 years and 50% before 14 years. Mental health costs are the largest single source of cost related to non-communicable disease; larger than cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, or diabetes. The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that the global cost of mental illness was nearly $2.5 trillion (two-thirds in indirect costs) in 2010, with a projected increase to over $6 trillion by 2030. If not addressed, the effects of mental ill-health can persist over an individuals lifetime and lead to further occupational, economic and interpersonal difficulties. Responding to the mental health needs of young people is critical if we are to ensure that they are able to contribute to the economy, lead fulfilling lives and participate actively in their communities. Over the last five years new and emerging technologies have fundamentally changed the way young people communicate, connect and build communities, both online and offline. Critical to this shift is the emergence of smart devices including phones and tablets. This presentation describes a unique collaboration between young people, researchers, technologists, the not of profit sector and policy makers across 75 organisations in Australia, the United States, Ireland and in developing countries. The Young and Well CRC is a Cooperative Research Centre funded by the Australian Government to explore the role of technologies and the impact they have on mental health and wellbeing.

Conference Name: 
Presentation Date: 
November, 2013
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