“I’m ecstatic about the impact our programs have on kids, and knowing that we’ve changed their lives for the better. But we need to ask ‘what about our retirees?’” says Professor Ron Rapee, ARC Laureate Fellow, and former Director of the Centre for Emotional Health.
Retirees are less likely to suffer from mental health problems but they still develop anxiety and depression – and there’s increasing evidence these conditions are risk factors for dementia.
To make things worse, they’re often left untreated as there’s a perception that it’s normal for older people to suffer depression as they lose their friends, health and independence.
Just under half the children in Australia with a mental health issue aren’t receiving the appropriate treatment, and one third of their parents say the main impediment is a lack of access to treatment options.
“We’ve got all these great programs that we know work, but kids in rural Australia have just not been getting access to them,” says Dr Lauren McLellan, a clinical psychologist and Research Fellow at the Centre for Emotional Health.
For years we’ve been identifying genetic markers linked to mental disorders. Now it appears those same markers could also tell us who will best-respond to treatment.
A study of over 1,500 children, as part of the international Genes for Treatment collaboration, found those with a specific genetic marker were more responsive to psychological therapy than those without.