Black Dog Institute

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The Black Dog Institute is a not-for-profit facility offering specialist expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. Founded in 2002, the institute combines expertise in clinical management with research to develop new, and more effective, strategies for people living with mood disorders.

Their research extends from risk identification genomic studies to development of websites to enhance mental resilience in teenagers. They conduct clinical trials into new treatment methods as well as conducting brain imaging studies to “see” what happens to the brain when depression strikes. Whilst diagnosis and treatment is of utmost importance, the Black Dog Institute also places emphasis on teaching people to recognise the symptoms of mood disorders in themselves and others, as well as providing them with the right psychological tools to hold the black dog at bay.

Based in Sydney, Australia, the Black Dog Institute partners with universities, health services and community groups across the country. They focus on access, running education programs in regional areas and providing a number of clinically-endorsed training programs for both health care professionals and workplaces.

Research[edit]

The Black Dog Institute undertakes research into the prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery of depression and bipolar disorder. They investigate why people are at risk of depression or bipolar disorder, how these disorders can best be prevented, how to intervene early, how to treat different types of depression with the most effective treatments, and how to promote recovery and prevent relapse. They do everything from looking at images of the brain during treatment to offering interactive websites to teach life skills. Black Dog Institute researchers lead the Australian Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP).

Read more about their research here. Research publications from Black Dog Institute staff can be found here.

Clinics[edit]

The Black Dog Institute runs three clinics available to Australian residents:

The Depression Clinic provides a consultancy service to GPs and psychiatrists to help manage patients with a mood disorder. Detailed assessments are conducted to consider the diagnosis and offer a formulation for why they may have developed the disorder and not responded fully to treatment. Expert advice and management suggestions are provided to the referring health professional.

The Bipolar Disorders Clinic provides a consultancy service to health professionals (e.g. psychiatrists, general practitioners, psychologists) who are managing a patient with bipolar disorder and require a review of the diagnosis, a comprehensive review of the case and/or directions for better management of the patient. The detailed assessment will give a refined diagnosis, provide management suggestions (concerning medications and psychological treatment), and advice to help the patient return to a productive lifestyle.

The Psychology Clinic offers a range of psychological services by clinicians specialising in the treatment and management of mood disorders.

Education[edit]

The Black Dog Institute delivers a range of education seminars and workshops on mood disorders, wellbeing and related topics.

Community education programs - Information on depression and bipolar disorder for general audiences

Health professionals - Education programs for GPs, psychologists, youth professionals, personal trainers.

Workplace training -Specially designed programs to address the impact of mood disorders in the workplace.

Youth programs - Find out about our education programs about mood disorders in young people.

HeadStrong - A curriculum resource on mood disorders, mental health and resilience for secondary school Health and Physical Education teachers

eHealth[edit]

The Black Dog Institute has developed a range of online tools including:

myCompass, an interactive self-help service that aims to promote resilience and wellbeing. myCompass is a guide to good mental health – it points you in the right direction. You can track your moods, write about them and view information and tips. You can also choose to do one of the modules designed to help you manage mild to moderate stress, anxiety and depression.

BITE BACK is a website which aims to improve the wellbeing and mental fitness of young people, based on the principles of positive psychology – the science of optimal functioning. BITE BACK is a unique place where 12-18 year olds can discover ways to amplify the good stuff in life with specially designed online activities and quizzes that can give members feedback and track progress over time. They can anonymously share real stories, read up on important issues and news, check out videos, blogs and interviews of interesting people, and enter fun competitions.

• Self-tests for depression and bipolar disorder

The Temperament and Personality (T & P) Questionnaire, a 109-item questionnaire designed to give people feedback on their personality style. The personality styles included in the T & P Questionnaire are those that are considered to either predispose people to developing depression (in particular, we predict, non-melancholic depression) or to shape the way depression is expressed (e.g. the way people cope when they experience depression).

The Workplace Wellbeing Questionnaire, a self-report questionnaire that allows you to rate how your workplace compares to others in terms of it being: satisfying; providing managerial support; offering a value system; intruding into your private life or not.

References[edit]