Helen Christensen

Helen Christensen
UNSW Sydney | UNSW · Black Dog Institute

PhD

About

629
Publications
180,192
Reads
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48,052
Citations
Introduction
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
January 2012 - present
UNSW Sydney
Position
  • Managing Director

Publications

Publications (629)
Article
Full-text available
There has been significant disruption to the lives and mental health of adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychological and lifestyle impact of the pandemic on Australian adolescents, using an online survey, administered during the outbreak. Self-report surveys were administered online to a sample...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Digital programs are increasingly being implemented in schools for student mental health. Schools are complex environments and contextual factors impact the implementation of these digital programs. OBJECTIVE The purpose of the current study by was to examine the contextual factors that influence implementation of the Future Proofing Pr...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Internet-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (iCBT) services for common mental health disorders have been found to be effective. There is a need for effective strategies to improve implementation in routine practice. One-size-fits-all strategies are likely to be ineffective and tailored implementation is considered as a promising approach....
Article
Full-text available
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 to 44, with fifty to sixty per cent of individuals who die by suicide ‘flying under the radar’, dying in this way without receiving formal mental health care or treatment. This paper explores how people bereaved by suicide interpret and narrate the lead-up to, act and aftermath of a male...
Article
Full-text available
Despite decades of research on suicide risk factors in young people, there has been no significant improvement in our understanding of this phenomenon. This study adopts a positive deviance approach to identify individuals with suicide resilience and to describe their associated psychological and sociodemographic profiles. Australian young adults a...
Preprint
Introduction Emerging evidence suggests that omega-3 supplements may be efficacious in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in adults, particularly as an adjunct to antidepressant medication. However, research on its efficacy in young people is limited. Thus, this scoping review aimed to summarise existing evidence on the efficacy of omega-3...
Article
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Background: Although digital mental health interventions (DMHIs) offer a potential solution for increasing access to mental health treatment, their integration into real-world settings has been slow. A key reason for this is poor user engagement. A growing number of studies evaluating strategies for promoting engagement with DMHIs means that a rev...
Article
Full-text available
Background Suicidal ideation is a major risk for a suicide attempt in younger people, such that reducing severity of ideation is an important target for suicide prevention. Smartphone applications present a new opportunity for managing ideation in young adults; however, confirmatory evidence for efficacy from randomized trials is lacking. The objec...
Article
Background: Mood disorders are burdensome illnesses that often go undetected and untreated. Sensor technologies within smartphones may provide an opportunity for identifying the early changes in circadian rhythm and social support/connectedness that signify the onset of a depressive or manic episode. Objective: Using smartphone sensor data, this...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Mood disorders are burdensome illnesses that often go undetected and untreated. Sensor technologies within smartphones may provide an opportunity for identifying the early changes in circadian rhythm and social support/connectedness that signify the onset of a depressive or manic episode. OBJECTIVE Using smartphone sensor data, this stu...
Article
Background Suicide is the leading cause of death among young Australians, therefore identifying factors that increase risk is important. The aims of this study was to investigate the association between personality domains and suicidal ideation, plans and attempts in a community-based sample of adolescents. Methods 1428 students from thirteen seco...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Youth suicidal ideation and behaviour is concerning due to its widespread prevalence, morbidity and potentially fatal consequences. Digital mental health interventions have been found to improve access to low-cost and high-quality support for a range of mental health issues, yet there are few digital interventions available for suicide...
Article
Objective Each year, around one million people die by suicide. Despite its recognition as a public health concern, large-scale research on causal determinants of suicide attempt risk is scarce. Here, we leverage results from a recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) of suicide attempt to perform a data-driven screening of traits causally associ...
Article
Background The uptake of professional mental health services among people with suicidal ideation remains low, yet few community-based studies have characterised modifiable individual barriers to service use. Our aims were (1) to identify factors associated with use of professional mental health services among people experiencing suicidal ideation,...
Article
Background: Adolescence is a sensitive period for the onset of mental health disorders. Effective, easy-to-disseminate, scalable prevention and early interventions are urgently needed. Affective control has been proposed as a potential target mechanism. Training affective control has been shown to reduce mental health symptoms and improve emotion r...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction The majority of people who die by suicide have never seen a mental health professional or been diagnosed with a mental illness. To date, this majority group has largely been ignored, with most existing research focusing on predictors of suicide such as past suicide attempts. Identifying the characteristics of people who die by suicide...
Article
Background The majority of people who die by suicide are unknown to formal mental health services. The current review identified predictors of non-receipt of mental health services among individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviours. Such data provides insight into the needs and preferences of these individuals and inform improvements to...
Preprint
Despite decades of research on suicide risk factors in young people, there has been no significant improvement in our understanding of this phenomenon. This study adopts a positive deviance approach to identify the individuals with suicide resilience and to describe their associated psychological and sociodemographic profiles. Australian young adul...
Article
Full-text available
Background Since the COVID-19 outbreak, few studies have investigated the positive psychological consequences on young people. This study examined resilience, positive experiences, and coping strategies reported by Australian adolescents during COVID-19. Methods Self-report surveys were administered online to a sample of 760 Australian adolescents...
Article
Background Suicide is a significant public health problem and there is a clear need for interventions to improve help seeking for suicide and psychological distress in young people. This trial aimed to assess the effectiveness of the school-based Sources of Strength program in increasing help-seeking intentions and behaviours in adolescents. Metho...
Preprint
BACKGROUND The COVID-19 pandemic has placed healthcare workers (HCWs) under severe stress, compounded by barriers to seeking mental health support among HCWs. The Essential Network (TEN) is a blend of digital and person-to-person (blended care) mental health support services for HCWs, funded by the Australian Federal Department of Health as part of...
Article
Full-text available
Digital mental health interventions (DMHIs) present a promising way to address gaps in mental health service provision. However, the relationship between user engagement and outcomes in the context of these interventions has not been established. This study addressed the current state of evidence on the relationship between engagement with DMHIs an...
Article
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed healthcare workers (HCWs) under severe stress, compounded by barriers to seeking mental health support among HCWs. The Essential Network (TEN) is a blend of digital and person-to-person (blended care) mental health support services for HCWs, funded by the Australian Federal Department of Health as part...
Article
Prevention efforts can substantially reduce the human and economic costs of mental and substance use disorders. However, a strategically integrated set of priorities for research and implementation is lacking. The Leaders in Prevention Summit sought to address this need by bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders to identify shared opportu...
Article
Full-text available
Background Digital prevention programs that are delivered in a school environment can inoculate young people against depression. However, little is known about the school-based factors that help and hinder the implementation of these programs. Staff members are integral for supporting mental health programs in schools and are likely to have a wealt...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, few studies have investigated the positive psychological consequences on young people. This study examined resilience, positive experiences, and coping strategies reported by Australian adolescents during COVID-19. Methods: Self-report surveys were administered online to a sample of 760 Australian adolescent...
Article
Depression and anxiety are often first experienced during childhood and adolescence, and interest in the prevention of these disorders is growing. The focus of this review was to assess the effectiveness of psychological prevention programs delivered in schools, and to provide an update to our previous review from five years ago (Werner-Seidler, Pe...
Article
Background: There is increasing interest in the spatial analysis of suicide data to identify high-risk (often public) locations likely to benefit from access restriction measures. The identification of such locations, however, relies on accurately geocoded data. This study aims to examine the extent to which common completeness and positional spat...
Article
Full-text available
Background Secondary schools have attempted to address gaps in help-seeking for mental health problems with little success. This trial evaluated the effectiveness of a universal web-based service (Smooth Sailing) for improving help-seeking intentions for mental health problems and other related outcomes among students. Methods A cluster randomised...
Article
Background The Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPTS) provides a theoretical model of suicide behavior that explains the emergence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempt. Limited research has tested the IPTS with adolescents. The aim of the current study is to test the full IPTS model in a non-clinical community-based sample of adol...
Article
Background: Until recently, little was known about the public's knowledge of suicide or its association with help-seeking. Aims: In this article we describe the development, validation, and application of the Literacy of Suicide Scale (LOSS). Method: A total of 658 people participated in the development of the LOSS, while 191 participated in a vali...
Article
Full-text available
Data generated within social media platforms may present a new way to identify individuals who are experiencing mental illness. This study aimed to investigate the associations between linguistic features in individuals’ blog data and their symptoms of depression, generalised anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Individuals who blogged were invited to p...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Australian school teachers have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Teachers have had to face relentless and challenging working conditions, take on new roles and responsibilities, and embrace new ways of working. We searched reports and the available research literature on teacher mental health between September 2020 and October 2020...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Falls have a multifactorial aetiology, which may limit the effectiveness of the common approach of exercise as the sole intervention strategy. Multifactorial interventions could be more effective in people at high risk of falling; however, the focus of such interventions has traditionally been quite narrow. This paper describes the des...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Digital mental health interventions will play a critical role in managing the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, enhancing their uptake is a key priority. General Practitioners (GPs) are well-positioned to facilitate access to digital interventions, but tools that assist GPs in identifying suitable patients are lacking...
Article
Background: Digital mental health interventions stand to play a critical role in managing the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, enhancing their uptake is a key priority. General practitioners (GPs) are well positioned to facilitate access to digital interventions, but tools that assist GPs in identifying suitable patients are la...
Article
Full-text available
An increase in time spent on screen-based technologies has been suggested to underlie recent increases in mental health problems among young people. However, this hypothesis has primarily been based on the findings of cross-sectional studies. The aim of the current review was to provide a comprehensive overview of longitudinal studies examining the...
Article
Full-text available
The ‘16Up’ study conducted at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute from January 2014 to December 2018 aimed to examine the physical and mental health of young Australian twins aged 16−18 years ( N = 876; 371 twin pairs and 18 triplet sets). Measurements included online questionnaires covering physical and mental health as well as informati...
Article
Background Physician trainees have elevated rates of psychological distress, mental disorders and suicide. Physician supervisors can support the mental health needs of trainees. Aim To test the feasibility and acceptability of a tailored online mental health training program and ascertain the potential effectiveness of the program to alter the con...
Article
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Introduction Process evaluations provide insight into how interventions are delivered across varying contexts and why interventions work in some contexts and not in others. This manuscript outlines the protocol for a process evaluation embedded in a cluster randomised trial of a digital depression prevention intervention delivered to secondary scho...
Article
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ABSTRACT Introduction Psychotherapy may reduce suicidal thoughts and behaviour, but its effectiveness is not well examined. Furthermore, conventional meta-analyses are unable to test possible effects of moderators affecting this relationship. This protocol outlines the building of a comprehensive database of the literature in this research field. I...
Preprint
Full-text available
BACKGROUND Background: Digital prevention programs that are delivered in the school environment can inoculate young people against depression. However, little is known about the school-based factors that help and hinder the implementation of these programs. School staff are integral to supporting mental health programs in schools and are likely to...
Article
Objective It is necessary for suicide prevention interventions to demonstrate safety. One important aspect of safety is evidence that deterioration rates are low. No studies have examined deterioration of suicidal ideation in the context of an internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention to reduce suicidal ideation. A secondary an...
Article
The feasibility of addressing the mental health needs of young people at school is influenced by how staff perceive their role, and the role of schools, in mental health care. Using qualitative methodology, this study investigated the roles of Australian school teachers and counselors. The aims were two-fold: (i) to explore how teachers and counsel...
Article
Full-text available
Interventions delivered via mobile apps show particular promise in tackling the burden of common mental disorders. Appropriately targeting these interventions to at-risk populations is critical to their success. This pilot study aimed to assess the usability, feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effects of an app-based intervention designed...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objective: There has been significant disruption to the lives and mental health of adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the exact nature of the effects is not known. The purpose of this study was to assess the psychological and lifestyle impact of the pandemic on Australian adolescents, using an online survey, administered during and after...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Young people are at heightened risk for mental health problems. Apprenticeships are common pathways into the workforce at a critical developmental period. However, in some cases the working conditions for apprentices present significant challenges to mental wellness. As apprentices are unlikely to utilize traditional services, eHealth a...
Preprint
Full-text available
BACKGROUND : Self-help smartphone applications offer a new opportunity to address youth suicide prevention by improving access to support and by providing potentially high fidelity and cost-effective treatment. However, there have been very few smartphone apps providing evidence-based support for suicide prevention in this population. To address th...
Article
This study used a novel theory-informed latent class approach, based on the Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide (IPTS), to identify subgroups of individuals with a suicide attempt history. The identification of subgroups can inform treatments that target these specific subgroups. Using data from a randomised controlled trial, latent class...
Article
Background Psychosocial, self-guided, internet-based programs are effective in treating depression and anxiety. However, the community uptake of these programs is poor. Recent approaches to increasing engagement (defined as both uptake and adherence) in internet-based programs include brief engagement facilitation interventions (EFIs). However, the...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Psychosocial, self-guided, internet-based programs are effective in treating depression and anxiety. However, the community uptake of these programs is poor. Recent approaches to increasing engagement (defined as both uptake and adherence) in internet-based programs include brief engagement facilitation interventions (EFIs). However, the...
Article
Full-text available
The acute and long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. The current study examined the acute mental health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in 5070 adult participants in Australia, using an online survey administered during the peak of the outbreak in Australia (27th March to 7th April 2020). Self-report questionnaires...
Article
Background There is evidence that depression can be prevented; however, traditional approaches face significant scalability issues. Digital technologies provide a potential solution, although this has not been adequately tested. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a new smartphone app designed to reduce depression symptoms an...
Article
Full-text available
Background: This study evaluated the acceptability and effectiveness of a relationship-focussed mobile phone application (WeClick) for improving depressive symptoms and other mental health outcomes in adolescents. Methods: A randomised controlled trial involving 193 youth (M age: 14.82, SD: 0.94, 86.5% female) from Australia was conducted. Youth...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Process evaluations provide insight into how interventions are delivered across varying contexts and why interventions work in some contexts and not in others. This manuscript outlines the detailed protocol for a process evaluation embedded in a cluster randomised trial of a digital depression prevention intervention delivered to second...
Article
Introduction Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is the first line recommended treatment for adults with chronic insomnia. In a prior randomized controlled trial (RCT), data showed web-delivered CBT-I (SHUTi) reduced insomnia severity as well as symptoms of depression, among adults with insomnia and elevated depressive symptoms. The p...
Preprint
The acute and long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. The current study examined the acute mental health responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in 5070 adult participants in Australia, using an online survey administered during the peak of the outbreak in Australia (27th March to 7th April 2020). Self-report questionnaires...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Despite increasing investment in suicide prevention, Australian suicide rates have increased steadily in the past decade. In response to growing evidence for multicomponent intervention models for reducing suicide, the LifeSpan model has been developed as the first multicomponent, evidence-based, system-wide approach to suicide prevent...
Article
Background The effectiveness of internet-based self-help programs for mental health may be limited by low engagement. Identifying factors associated with engagement in online interventions assists in developing strategies to improve efficacy through greater engagement. The aim of the current study was to identify factors associated with engagement...