OurFutures: A suite of universal evidence-based eHealth programs to prevent substance use and mental ill-health among adolescents

Wednesday, 23 November, 2022 - 10:50 to 12:20


Substance use, depression, and anxiety commonly co-occur and are the leading causes of disability among youth in high-income countries. OurFutures offers a suite of universal, evidence-based eHealth modules designed to prevent alcohol and other drug use and mental ill-health among adolescents. Co-designed with >160 young people and >380 teachers, parents and health/education experts, each module consists of 4-6 cartoon lessons, complemented by summary sheets, quizzes and optional teacher-facilitated activities. The aim of this presentation is to provide an overview of the effectiveness of the OurFutures modules and to discuss future directions, including ongoing development and dissemination at scale.

To date, five OurFutures modules have been developed: 1) Alcohol; 2) Alcohol & Cannabis; 3) Cannabis & Psychostimulants; 4) MDMA & Emerging Drugs; and 5) Mental Health. The modules have been evaluated in seven randomised controlled trials (169 schools, >14,600 students) in Australia and a pilot trial in the UK.

Compared to a control group (school-based health education as usual), students who received the OurFutures modules showed reduced psychological distress, slowed progression of anxiety symptoms, reduced alcohol consumption and binge drinking, reduced cannabis and ecstasy use, reduced harms from substance use, and improved knowledge about mental health and alcohol and other drugs for up to 7 years following the interventions (effect sizes ranged between 0.13-0.77 over the trials). The modules are now publicly available for use in Australia and have reached >1,140 schools (>32,000 students, >2,700 teachers) and health services. Adapted versions are available in the US and UK, and collaborations have commenced with the likes of Hong Kong, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and Zimbabwe to adapt the resources.

OurFutures provides high-quality, evidence-based prevention programs that can be readily accessed and scaled to prevent substance use and mental ill-health among adolescents worldwide.


Presentation files

23 108 1050 Lauren Gardner_v1.0.pdf4.71 MBDownload



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