Challenge: Behavioural change in the context of lifestyle and social adversity

Across the entire lifespan there is clear evidence that health-promoting activities that; increase exercise and physical activity, modify diets to reduce obesity, alter tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, will lead to reduced burden of disease. There is substantial evidence that social and economic factors influence the distribution of some of these unhealthy behaviours. It is a major challenge for the health care system to develop a broad range of strategies that effectively tackle this complex social and lifestyle challenge.

Mindgardens solution

The interdisciplinary nature of Mindgardens and its focus on basic and applied behavioural science puts it in a unique position to fundamentally tackle this problem. Internet, school-based prevention programmes have demonstrated promise in altering young people’s drinking behaviour, in improving mental health literacy, reducing stigma, and preventing the development of anxiety and depression. This approach will ensure effective behavioural intervention and prevention approaches can be disseminated through all schools in NSW, including new approaches designed to prevent suicide and manage suicide ideation.

There is substantial evidence for the benefits of screening and brief intervention for tobacco and alcohol and cannabis problems in primary care, new technology approaches to SBIRT will be developed to support further development and evaluation in the Primary Care Setting.

Behavioural approaches to supporting health life styles in the older adult population will become a major challenge over the coming decades and approaches to supporting behavioural interventions in this target population will be a key priority of the integrated teams.