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Bridging the Gap in Global Youth Mental Health

Dr Katie Dawson

Mental health problems affect between 10 and 20% of young people worldwide with rates increasing in populations exposed to trauma (e.g. war and natural disasters), or living in chronic adversity (e.g. poverty). Refugee, asylum-seeking and internally displaced children are especially at risk. Not only are they more likely to be exposed to traumatic events initiating their displacement, but they may also experience adversities related to migration and resettlement including socioeconomic hardship, residential instability, discrimination and family dysfunction. Commonly reported mental health problems in youth include depression, anxiety, externalising problems and drug and alcohol abuse. However, in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), most youth will not receive adequate psychological care. When children are unable to receive treatment, these problems can increase morbidity and mortality, place a significant burden on health care and increase health care costs and in the long-term, decrease productivity.

STARTTS | LATEST RESEARCH ON EFFECTIVE INTERVENTIONS
AND MODELS FOR REFUGEE TRAUMA: ANNUAL UPDATE 2017
22 November 2017 | The Holroyd Centre, Sydney, Australia
Visit STARTTS: www.startts.org.au

Katie Dawson
Katie Dawson
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Dr Katie Dawson

Katie Dawson is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of New South Wales and a Clinical Psychologist. Her areas of interest include global mental health in settings affected by adversity. She completed her PhD in Aceh, Indonesia, exploring the applicability of western-based cognitive models of PTSD in children exposed to natural disaster and conflict. Working alongside a local NGO, she developed culturally adapted trauma-focused CBT and problem-solving interventions that had positive effects on the mental health of Acehnese children exposed to conflict. 

She is currently consulting for the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop simple psychological interventions for youth and adults affected by adversity and living in low resource settings. Problem Management Plus (PM+) for adults is one such intervention that has been shown to be effective and is now freely available for implementation. She has been involved in conducting training and supervision of PM+ worldwide with non-specialist providers. She is currently working on developing an equivalent intervention for young adolescents.

Before becoming a mum, she worked as a clinical psychologist at the Traumatic Stress Clinic, treating adults affected by PTSD and comorbid problems and at the Centre for Clinical Therapy, treating adults, children and their families.

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