Blackdog Future Proofing Study

22 March 2023

Since 2020, a selected number of our current Year 10 cohort has been involved in the Blackdog Future Proofing Study.

The Future Proofing Study aims to discover how we can use the devices in our pockets – smartphones – to deliver preventative interventions on a large scale.

Studies of this size are commonplace for cardiovascular and cancer research but have never been attempted before for prevention of mental health problems.

This world-first trial aims to predict and prevent anxiety and depression in thousands of Australian students aged 13 to 18 years, making it the largest study of its kind in the field of mental health.

Hiroko from the Blackdog Institute visited on Wednesday 8 March to discuss the importance of sleep for teenagers. It is recommended that teenagers should aim for at least eight to ten hours of sleep per night. Research has shown that sleep problems usually come before individuals develop mental health problems. The good news about this is that sleep is a modifiable factor that teenagers and families can control to improve mental health and wellbeing compared to many other factors in today’s society.

  • What can parents do to help their child sleep well?
    Limit screen time in the evenings and keep phones out of bedrooms.
  • Implement an evening routine that is predictable and involves a calm routine just before bed. This routine might involve putting away all devices, turning off screens (including the TV), having a bath or shower, spending quiet time with siblings or pets, doing meditation or relaxation activities or reading a good book.
  • Use bedrooms and beds only for sleeping where possible. This will strengthen both the mental association of children and adults between the bedroom being a calming place for sleep. [Source: Improving sleep for teens – Blackdog Institute]

By addressing good quality sleep, we are setting up the foundations to promote emotional, social and physical wellbeing and academic performance, now and in the future.

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