Young and Well Collaborative Research Center

Families, companies and now governments are realizing the impact of technology on young people's minds.
The Young and Well Collaborative Research Centre (YAW-CRC) is a major investment, and a pioneering effort, in the area of youth mental health.
The YAW-CRC is a collaboration of 70 institutions from across Australia. A broad and complex organization managed by Jane Burns it parents a host of different research projects that use technology to support efforts to improve mental health in youth.  I recently met with Jane to discuss the potential of positive computing to support their vision.

The new center currently has 4 research iniatives:
  • The online wellbeing centre:  This project aims to make tools available that are integrated into something similar to a community centre.  Applications will include mindfulness therapy through to diet, exercise and sleep hygiene.
  • The Young and Well National Surveys. These will use technology to improve our understanding of youth mental health (eg. via mobile phone surveys). Led by Tracy Davenport from the Brain and Mind Institute.  
  • Preventive Online Programs. This project will develop new online/mobile tools to prevent alcohol and drug abuse. The definition of prevention here is used in the traditional sense (as a method of managing disease). The project is led by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology.
  • Online Social marketing for safety and wellbeing. This project will develop and evaluate an online social marketing platform. They focus on collaboration with industry and youth groups. Led by Valentina Borboni of Zuni, a local consulting company focused on digital marketing campaigns.

The YAW-CRC only started in December last year but with their combination of great minds and the support of $27M in government funding, it's worth keeping an eye on.  I expect we'll see some great outcomes for mental health and technology in the coming year.