NeuRA-Profile-2016 - page 19

Promotingoptimalmental healthand
resilience to trauma, adversityand
stress is aprominent national andglobal
priority. Resilience refers to theprocess
of adaptive recovery fromadversity; to
maintainoptimal levelsofwellbeing such
as life satisfaction, optimism, positivity
andmastery in the faceof dynamic
challenges topsychological resources.
“With low resilience,” saysDr JustineGatt,
“individuals areat high riskof developing
psychiatricproblems followingadversity;
depressionandanxietybeing themost
commondisorders. Thesedisorders are
definedbypronouncedemotional and
behavioural deficits to the individual
whichextend tomarkedalterations in
brain structureand function.
Adolescents areparticularlyvulnerable
to stressors as theyareundergoing the
final stagesofdevelopmentandare therefore
highly susceptible to the impactsof
their environment.”
DrGatt is currently leadingan
international trialwithother experts in
resilience tounderstandyouth resilience
andways topromote it acrossdifferent
cultural groups. Theparticipating sites
includeAustralia (Sydney), Canada,
SouthAfrica, UK,NewZealandand
China. Each site is currently running
apilot studyof questionnaireswith
approximately30 to50participants in the
13 to 14year oldagegroup. TheSydney
sitewill alsoconduct neurocognitive
assessments in their participants. The
information from this studywill inform
the roleof various environmental, socio-
ecological, neurocognitiveandhealth
factors thatmaycontribute to resilience.
Thefindingswill also inform the
feasibilityof running such a test
battery in a larger, future two-year
prospective trial across the sites.
Importantly, the studywill also identify
key factors that shouldbepromoted in
national healthpolicy to assist youth,
tooptimise theirmental health and
longevity, and to reducehealthcare
costs formental health andother
Dr JustineGatt is
leadingan international
trial intoyouth resilience
vulnerable to stressorsas
theyareundergoing the
final stagesofdevelopment
andare thereforehighly
susceptible to the impacts
of their environment.
TheYouthResilienceStudy isan international trial seeking
ways topromote resilienceacrossdifferent cultural groups.
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