The Comprehensive Monitoring System empowers communities to understand how their young people are developing psychologically.

It is a series of eight surveys that track the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 0–21. Participating communities receive comprehensive reports and access to a free database of evidence-based programs for responding to strengths and weaknesses identified in the reports.

Continuum of Care

  • Prevention
  • Treatment
  • Continuing Care
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  • Pregnancy
  • Infancy
  • Toddlerhood
  • Childhood
  • Adolescence
  • Young Adulthood
  • Middle Adulthood
  • Late Adulthood
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Securing young people’s mental health with developmental psychology

For today’s young people, the future is filled with promise – but also considerable challenges. They face global problems: climate change, social unrest and infectious disease. More and more young Australians are experiencing psychological distress.

We must protect the emotional wellbeing of young people, but also prepare them to tackle future challenges. Developmental psychology gives us the tools to do this effectively. By charting social and emotional development from pregnancy to adulthood, we can understand the pathways that lead to poor – or good – mental health.

But creating these developmental maps takes a lot of data. The best we currently have is a disconnected patchwork: data collected at different ages and using different indicators (factors that researchers think are likely to influence social and emotional development).

Without better data, we are flying blind in our attempts to prevent mental disorders and to raise resilient young Australians.

The lifecourse approach to social and emotional development

Our Comprehensive Monitoring System empowers communities to understand where their children and young people are thriving and where they might need additional support and care. It uses eight surveys to track the emotional health and wellbeing of young people aged 0–21.

The Comprehensive Monitoring System’s lifecourse approach is informed by decades of longitudinal research. This research has clearly shown that every age and stage of development matters for the healthy development of young people in the first 10,000 days of life.

Surveys are delivered at key developmental points in life:

  1. Infancy (age 0)
  2. Toddlerhood (age 3)
  3. Prep school (age 6, AEDC)
  4. Year 3 (age 9)
  5. Year 6 (age 12)
  6. Year 9 (age  15)
  7. Year 12 (age 18)
  8. Age 21

There is no similar monitoring system anywhere in the world.

Delivered by communities for communities

The Comprehensive Monitoring System was developed to extend Australian Early Development Census (AEDC). Taking place every three years, the AEDC surveys more than 300,000 children aged 5–6 years. The census captures over 95% of all children this age across Australia.

Following in the AEDC’s footsteps, we deliver Comprehensive Monitoring System surveys in partnership with communities through services like maternal and child health centres, schools, and employment networks.

Run by communities for communities through existing services, the Comprehensive Monitoring System is currently a bespoke community development intervention that could be implemented anywhere across Australia.

Once a community has completed all Comprehensive Monitoring System surveys, we provide data back to communities through user-friendly data visualisations on how their young population is tracking in key areas of social and emotional development.

<!–Communities can also access the SEED POD: a free database of evidence-based programs. Based on their local area results, they can choose the most relevant interventions to address problems and/or build on strengths identified.–>

Since 2015, Comprehensive Monitoring System surveys have been successfully trialled multiple times in pilot sites across Victoria. A trial of the whole system has now concluded in the Victorian shires of Buloke, Loddon and Gannawarra.

Meet the team

The Comprehensive Monitoring System is delivered as part of Deakin University’s SEED Lifespan Public Mental Health stream in partnership with the Victorian State Government Department of Education and Training and the Human Early Learning Partnership.

SEED conducts world-leading research on social development and its origins in early emotional life. The Public Mental Health stream works to prevent mental disorder and promote emotional health in the general population.