A multi-level public health approach to empowering parents for youth mental health

Young people and wellbeing
Thursday 26 July, 1300 – 1320


Associate Professor Marie Yap
Monash University

Substantial research evidence indicates that there are many things parents can do to reduce the risk and impact of depression and anxiety disorders in their adolescent child. Evidence from randomised controlled trials of preventive parenting interventions has demonstrated long-term benefits for child internalising outcomes that last up to 11 years.
Promising evidence has also been found for treatment interventions involving parents. However, parents remain largely neglected and/or left out of prevention and treatment approaches for adolescent internalising problems.

This paper proposes a multi-level public health approach to empowering parents, using an evidence-based, tailored, web-based parenting intervention, Partners in Parenting. The Partners in Parenting intervention derives its content from evidence-based and expert-endorsed Parenting Guidelines, and targets the wide range of adolescent risk and protective factors for depression and anxiety which parents can potentially modify. The intervention was developed to fulfil the key principles of the Persuasive Systems Design model, which is empirically supported to enhance engagement in web-based interventions.

This paper provides evidence to date for each level of the proposed multi-level approach, and discusses ways in which the Partners in Parenting program can be disseminated as a public health approach to supporting parents of adolescents.