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  • Positive Mood Program for pandemic-related distress

    Author: Haley Williams

The Black Dog Institute is seeking 250 participants to trial an online Positive Mood Program to reduce pandemic-related distress.

The program, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and backed by the World Health Organisation, will facilitate research on how people receive and learn strategies to cope with stress and mood issues.

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The trail is beneficial to those who have been most affected by the pandemic, whether through financial difficulty, job loss or shock upon reflection about COVID-19’s impact.

Trial participants will be screened to determine eligibility with those testing positive for psychological distress allocated to one of two groups.

The first group will be given evidence-based strategies to complete at their own pace, and the second group will be provided six video conferencing sessions with a clinical psychologist.


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Senior Principal Research Fellow Dr Richard Bryant says the program will be important in helping those experiencing difficulties after the pandemic's initial shock.

"2020 was a big year for everyone, and that stress didn't go away with the turn of a new year.

"Now that the 'fight or flight' part of it is over, many people are left feeling a little flat," says Dr Bryant.

The program will provide valuable educate to those who are screened as having experienced high levels of distress due to COVID-19.

"The idea is for the participants to learn processes to help them lower their stress and manage better as a result of the issues which has affected them due to COVID.

"Our process has already been shown to improve people's mood and reduce stress levels.

"These programs will be offered to all people across Australia, free of charge, and will be led by Australia's pre-eminent academic centres in coping with stress - the University of New South Wales Traumatic Stress Clinic and the Black Dog Institute.

"Both these institutes are recognised around the world as leading research and service centres in delivering cutting-edge coping strategies to improve psychological well-being," adds Dr Bryant.

The sessions can be run during office hours, weekends or after office hours, depending on the participants' needs. Successful participants will be reimbursed $100 on completion of the program.

If you are interested in the Positive Mood Program, you can find out more here.

The Black Dog Institute is an independent not-for-profit medical research institute concerned with the early detection, prevention and treatment of common mental health disorders and is affiliated with the UNSW, Sydney.


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Haley Williams

Haley Williams has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and over a decade of experience in the media, marketing and communications industries.

She is a widely published journalist with a particular interest in writing magazine features on parenting, health, fitness, nutrition and education.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Haley worked as a writer for NeoLife (a worldwide nutrition company), News Limited and APN News & Media.

Haley also has extensive experience as an SEO Content Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist.