Making the Link Trial
Seeking help for mental health problems early is widely recognised as a protective factor. but young people are often reluctant to seek help, particularly from health professionals. When they do, they typically turn to their peers, who often do not know how to help, or worse, provide incorrect or risky advice.
MAKINGtheLINK is a school-based intervention that aims to help adolescents overcome barriers to seeking professional help for mental health and substance use problems. It draws upon two well-validated health behaviour change frameworks, the Information-Motivation-Behavioural Skills Model and the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Classroom activities provide students with information about how to seek help and from whom, investigate barriers to help-seeking and risky behaviours, and provide opportunities for skill rehearsal.
To evaluate the effectiveness of MAKINGtheLINK, we conducted a cluster randomised controlled trial in a sample of 2447 Year 9 students recruited from 21 schools in Melbourne, Victoria. The intervention was associated with increased help-seeking from formal help sources (e.g., health professionals) as opposed to informal help sources (e.g., friends and family members) at 12-months post-intervention. It was also associated with a reduction in stigmatising attitudes towards alcohol problems, which increased adolescents’ willingness to help their peers.
Findings indicate that MAKINGtheLINK effectively improves the quality of help-seeking behaviour. As prompt treatment is essential in reducing the long-term impact of early onset mental health problems, MAKINGtheLINK has the potential to make a significant contribution to early intervention and prevention efforts.
Under Construction: Alcohol and the Teenage Brain
Under Construction: Cannabis and the Teenage Brain
Turning Point team
Professor Dan Lubman (Monash University), Ms Fiona Blee, Ms Bonita Berridge, Dr Alison Cheetham, and Emma Sandral.
Professor Anthony Jorm (University of Melbourne), Professor Nick Allen (University of Melbourne), Dr Coralie Wilson (University of Woollongong), Dr Jenny Proimos (University of Melbourne), Dr Rory Wolfe (Monash University), and Dr Catherine Martin (Monash University).
Learn more about the project
- Lubman, D. I., Cheetham, A., Berridge, B. J., & McKay Brown, L. (2018). MAKINGtheLINK: A school-based intervention to improve help-seeking for substance use problems. Early intervention in psychiatry. 12(5), 915-921.
- Berridge, B. J., Hall, K., Dillon, P., Hides, L., & Lubman, D. I. (2011). MAKINGtheLINK: A school-based health promotion programme to increase help-seeking for cannabis and mental health issues among adolescents. Early intervention in psychiatry, 5(1), 81-88.
- Lubman, D. I., Berridge, B. J., Blee, F., Jorm, A. F., Wilson, C. J., Allen, N. B., ... & Wolfe, R. (2016). A school-based health promotion programme to increase help-seeking for substance use and mental health problems: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 17(1), 393.
- Lubman, D. I., Cheetham, A., Jorm, A. F., Berridge, B. J., Wilson, C., Blee, F., ... & Proimos, J. (2017). Australian adolescents’ beliefs and help-seeking intentions towards peers experiencing symptoms of depression and alcohol misuse. BMC public health. 17(1), 658.
- Berridge, B. J., McCann, T. V., Cheetham, A., & Lubman, D. I. (2018). Perceived barriers and enablers of help-seeking for substance use problems during adolescence. Health promotion practice. 19(1), 86-93.
- Lubman, D. I., Cheetham, A., Sandral, E., Wolfe, R., Martin, C., Blee, F., ... & McKay-Brown, L. (2020). Twelve-month outcomes of MAKINGtheLINK: A cluster randomized controlled trial of a school-based program to facilitate help-seeking for substance use and mental health problems. EClinicalMedicine, 18, 100225.
- Cheetham, A., Sandral, E., & Lubman, D. I. (2020). Outcomes of reducing stigma towards alcohol misuse during adolescence: results of a randomized controlled trial of the MAKINGtheLINK intervention. Child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health, 14(1), 1-8.
- Lubman, D. I., Cheetham, A., Blee, F., Berridge, B. J., & McKay-Brown, L. (2017). Australian adolescents’ understanding of confidentiality in mental health. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 51(9), 942-944.
- Cheetham, A., Jorm, A. F., Wilson, C., Berridge, B. J., Blee, F., & Lubman, D. I. (2019). Stigmatising Attitudes Towards Depression and Alcohol Misuse in Young People: Relationships with Help-Seeking Intentions and Behavior. Adolescent Psychiatry, 9(1), 24-32.
- Finalist in the 2017 Vic Health Awards