MAKINGtheLINK: A school-based health promotion programme to increase help-seeking for cannabis and mental health issues among adolescents

Bonita Berridge, Kate Hall, Paul Dillon, Leanne Hides, Dan Lubman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: There is increasing concern regarding the use of cannabis among adolescents, especially given recent evidence highlighting its link with later mental disorders. Encouraging young people with mental health or drug issues to seek professional help is an important early intervention strategy; however, adolescents are typically reluctant to do so and instead turn to their peers for help. Peers may not have the skills or knowledge required to assist their friends to access professional help. This paper describes the development and evaluation of MAKINGtheLINK, a school-based health promotion programme that promotes help-seeking behaviour for mental health and cannabis use issues among young people.METHODS: The MAKINGtheLINK programme was piloted with 182 Year 10 students at a secondary school in Melbourne, Australia. Forty teachers received the MAKINGtheLINK staff professional development session.RESULTS: The delivery of the MAKINGtheLINK programme was found to be both acceptable and feasible within a school setting. Students and teachers described it as a fun, engaging, helpful and important programme. Students reported increased confidence and awareness of how to seek help for themselves or a friend, and teachers indicated increased confidence and awareness of how to assist students to seek help for cannabis use and/or mental health problems.CONCLUSIONS: MAKINGtheLINK was successfully implemented within the school curriculum. We believe this is the first school-based programme that specifically focuses on facilitating professional help-seeking for cannabis use and mental health problems among young people, and demonstrates that utilizing peer models for help-seeking is a valuable resource for early intervention initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81 - 88
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this