Repurposing the Mindfulness and Compassion program (MAC-P) using co-design to create a transdiagnostic online intervention for youth attending rural/regional mental health services


It can be particularly difficult for youth in rural and regional areas to get support for their mental health as in many places there is not enough professional support available. Seventy-five percent of mental health problems begin before the age of 25. The Victorian Royal Commission recommends making increased support for youth a priority. Youth reported they want to have more choice other than phone or face-to-face treatment only. Dr Tara Hickey developed a mindfulness and compassion group program for youth with psychotic experiences. She evaluated it with her colleagues Professor Barnaby Nelson and Professor Graham Meadows. This program could be changed, with the help of young people, to be an online group program for youth who are experiencing a range of problems. The program could help to increase the support available to youth living in rural and regional Australia.

University of Melbourne contributors:

  • Dr Tara Hickey, Honorary Fellow, Centre for Youth Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
  • Professor Barnaby Nelson, Centre for Youth Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
  • Professor Graham Meadows, Honorary Fellow, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences

External collaborators:

Dr Tara Hickey

Project lead | Dr Tara Hickey

Dr Tara Hickey is a clinical psychologist who has trained and is experienced in mindfulness and compassion-based approaches. She has a particular interest in working with youth and young adults. She has worked in public mental health services in Europe, United States and Australia.

Tara holds an Adjunct Research Fellow position with Monash University, an Honorary Associate position with the University of Sydney and a Honorary Fellow position with The University of Sydney.

As part of her research she developed and piloted a mindfulness and compassion group program for youth with psychotic experiences. She has also co-facilitated a Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) Self-Practice/Self-Reflection (SP/SR) courses for CFT practitioners and is currently conducting research in this area. She has published her work in national and international journals, and has co-authored book chapters. Tara is committee member of Compassionate Mind Australia.