Posted on Oct 04, 2018
Child and adolescent mental health is a very serious problem in NZ. New Zealand has the highest rate of teenage suicides amongst all OECD countries.
Led by our Champion Graham Hendry, we are striving to support positive change by funding programmes that give clinicians access to the best practise solutions to help with their diagnosis and treatment.
Our Club proudly supports the following projects:
Downtown Rotary has contributed over $170,000 to fund a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Auckland University School of Psychological Medicine to develop a treatment programme for teenagers suffering from severe depression. The computer-based SPARX electronic game was the result. This interactive tool has been hailed internationally for its continuing success in addressing this disorder.
2. A National Research Network:
75% of mental health issues commence before the age of 25 years. 15% of children and adolescents are known to suffer from mental health but only 3% of them actually get to see a specialist. We cannot fund increasing the number of clinicians (as it is the responsibility of Government). However we are aiming to make the current number of child and adolescent mental health practitioners as effective as possible.
Therefore our objective is to develop an online network to improve communications among academics and practitioners specialising in CAMH to:
  • Detail the skills and resources that are currently available
  • Determine the areas of greatest need
  • Keep practitioners appraised of current proven mainstream research
  • Collaborate on clinically meaningful NZ-wide research projects
  • Share outcomes of research projects amongst practitioners
  • Provide access to visiting specialists  
Downtown Rotary is helping with the funding of this national research network.
At present a national survey is being developed to inform the design and use of this network (website). This will be run in October 2018.
The next stage will be to design the website and then to populate it and run an initial ‘test of concept’.
  1. Research into prescribing for children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder
The services over summer 2018-9 of a student to help run this project have been secured, subject to funding and ethics approval by Auckland University. Once approved, it is expected that this project will run from Nov 2018 till Feb 2019 with the results to be presented at an Autism education day in March 2019. A contribution to funding by Downtown Auckland Rotary will materially assist here.