UN appoints Psychology professor to expert panel

  • Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Earlier this month, Professor Cecilia Essau of the Department of Psychology was appointed by the UN to an expert panel on drug use in adolescents.

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Appointed to the expert panel of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Professor Essau attended the technical consultation on family therapy for adolescents with drug use disorders. She contributed her expertise in mental and psychological wellbeing in children, adolescents and adults to the UNODC's goal of identifying ‘key elements of effective approaches to the treatment of adolescents with drug use disorders’.

The consultation was run in conjunction with the World Health Organisation, drawing on the earlier joint report International Standards for the Treatment of Drug Use Disorders, which recommended the use of family therapy when treating drug use in adolescents.

Professor Essau said, “I am honoured to work with world-leading experts in areas including drug and crime research and family therapy to provide guidance for the development of a UN training package on family-based therapy and identify effective treatment approaches. Research has shown that drug use disorders are serious and complex, and are associated with poverty, violence, crime and social exclusion. This work will have a significant impact in helping adolescents with drug use disorders, and their families and communities.”

Professor Essau's research is conducted in collaboration with colleagues from more than twenty countries and focuses on the interacting factors that can lead adolescents to develop serious mental health problems, including drug use disorders, and using this research to design more effective interventions to prevent and treat such problems.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 rated 100% of the Department of Psychology's research ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ for its impact.