The top Black Dog discoveries of 2017
Published: 19 December, 2017
As 2017 draws to a close, we reflect on an exciting year of new discoveries in mental health research.
Black Dog Institute researchers are continuing to uncover new findings into the causes of poor mental health, while developing innovative solutions to treat and prevent mental illness.
Our breakthrough findings in 2017 include:
Ketamine is an effective treatment for depression
A world-first randomised controlled trial (RCT) into the use of ketamine as a treatment for depression in elderly patients provided early evidence that ketamine can be effective and safe in repeated intravenous doses. Led by UNSW Professor Colleen Loo, based at Black Dog Institute, the research team are now actively recruiting people with severe depression to join a follow-up study.
An hour of exercise each week can prevent depression
Associate Professor Samuel Harvey published a landmark study analysing health data from nearly 34,000 Norwegians which found that 12% of cases of depression could be prevented if participants undertook just one hour of exercise per week.
Mental health training for managers helps the whole team
Our Workplace Mental Health Research Program published a world-first finding in the Lancet Psychiatry showing that basic mental health training for managers can benefit the whole team, with an ROI of almost $10 for each dollar spent on training. While the study was conducted amongst frontline service workers from Fire & Rescue NSW, the results are a promising sign that mangers can take a more active role in assisting their employees in leading mentally healthier lives.
App effective in fight against Indigenous youth suicide
Black Dog Institute’s iBobbly app, a world-first first suicide prevention app designed for Indigenous Australians, delivered promising results in the world’s first RCT of a suicide prevention app. Participants who used the app over 6 weeks reported a 42% reduction in depression symptoms, a 30% reduction in suicidal ideation and a 28% reduction in distress.
Online treatments can reduce depression
A major international review of all published studies led by Black Dog Institute Director, Professor Helen Christensen, provided irrefutable evidence that online psychological therapies are effective. With the World Health Organisation predicting depression will become the biggest cause of health burden in the world by 2030, this study shows clinically developed online psychological therapies can be just as effective as offline solutions to this growing problem.
To find out more about Black Dog Institute's research into mental health and wellbeing, visit the Research section of our website.