Changes in help-seeking intentions among young people living in families impacted by mental illness attending Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation camps

Publication Name

Child and Family Social Work


Young people living in families impacted by familial mental illness are at increased risk of various negative mental and physical health outcomes. Prevention and early intervention programmes are useful in mitigating the risk of transgenerational transmission of mental illness. Therapeutic recreation camps constitute a novel approach to mental health early intervention and prevention for these young people, incorporating educational experiences within a peer-based environment. This study assessed the outcomes of attending the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation camps for young people living in families impacted by familial mental illness. A pre-post design was used with 237 young people between 8 and 18 years old. Mixed analyses of variance (ANOVAs) found significant improvements in young people's mental health knowledge and intentions to seek help using an anonymous telephone helpline after attending the programme. Results also revealed that males became more likely to seek help from regular contacts within their established networks after attending the programme. These findings contribute towards an increased understanding of the extant help-seeking processes involved among an at-risk population, with focused attention on subgroups who are less likely to seek help for their issues.

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