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About us

Our vision

to reduce the impact of mental illness in our communities

Established in 1987, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) is hosted by West Moreton Health and is Queensland’s premier mental health research centre. With core funding from Queensland Health, a decades-long partnership with The University of Queensland, and researchers embedded within the health system, we are uniquely positioned to connect health service and academic expertise and experiences and to maximise the potential of our research to reduce the impact of mental illness in our communities.

Research priorities

Our research teams work tirelessly to create new knowledge about mental health across the research continuum - from the bench to the bedside, and into the community. In line with community expectations and state and national research priorities, we work to:

  • Understand the causes and prevalence of mental disorders,
  • Determine risk factors for mental disorders,
  • Discover new and improved clinical treatments and interventions,
  • Improve mental health services, and systems, and
  • Translate our research findings into improved policies and practice.

Our expertise

The research efforts of our thirteen research streams are focused around the following areas of expertise:

  • Developmental neurobiology
  • Psychiatric epidemiology, risk factors, and burden of disease
  • Forensic mental health
  • Suicide crisis
  • Service design
  • Clinical trials and interventions
  • Treatment refractory schizophrenia
  • Physical and mental health comorbidity
  • Military and veterans' mental health
  • Mental health in climate change
  • Child, adolescent, and youth mental health
  • Mental health systems, services, and evaluation
  • Analysis and reporting of mental health outcomes data
  • Translation of research into policy and practice
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QCMHR is located at the historic Dawson House, on the grounds of The Park Centre for Mental Health Treatment, Research and Education, operated by West Moreton Health.

History

In the mid-1980's, a young Queensland Health psychiatrist named Dr Harvey Whiteford was awarded a Queensland Government Research Fellowship to develop his career as a mental health clinician-researcher. This was a rare opportunity at a time when psychiatry and mental illness were stigmatised and not an area of choice for many doctors or nurses. For the duration of his Fellowship, Harvey was embedded within the Clinical Research Unit of the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC), an internationally renowned Stanford University teaching hospital. Read more about Professor Harvey Whiteford's journey.

On the back of Harvey's experience, and at a time in history when the need for research to improve outcomes for people with mental disorders was gaining recognition, Queensland Health then committed to establishing a similar inpatient research unit at Wolston Park Hospital, which was then one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Australia. In 1987, the Clinical Studies Unit opened at Wolston Park with Harvey as its inaugural Director. Less than a decade later, the Queensland Government decentralised mental health care and established mental health units and services in regional Hospital and Health Services around the State. This led to the considerable downsizing of Wolston Park Hospital and, under the leadership of Professors John McGrath and Bryan Mowry, the reshaping of the inpatient Clinical Studies Unit into the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research as we know it today - that is, as a research-intensive statewide research organisation hosted at West Moreton Health, with the Queensland Health Department continuing to provide an operational budget to foster discovery of new knowledge about mental disorders.

Over recent years, under the leadership of Professor McGrath, QCMHR researchers have worked hard to leverage this core budget to attract significant research funding through competitive grants and government contracts. This additional income has supported the growth of multiple research streams, a robust mental health evaluation capability, a specialist mental health clinical trials unit, and enabled our resident mental health experts to supervise the research training of the next generation of mental health researchers and clinicians.

While QCMHR administration and several research streams remain located at The Park Centre for Mental Health Research and Education at Wacol (previously Wolston Park Hospital), the centre has expanded to work across Queensland and with national and international collaborators.

Through QCMHR, Queensland's Health's investment in mental health research has led to breakthroughs that have expanded our knowledge about how to prevent, treat, and improve services for people with, mental disorders.

A detailed history of QCMHR can be found in the article Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research: the first 17 years, written in 2004 by Professors McGrath, Mowry, and Whiteford, who have each been Directors of QCMHR during the organisation's proud 37-year history.

Contact us

Want to know more about QCMHR? Click the button to get in touch with us!

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HEAD OFFICE

Level 3, Dawson House
The Park Centre for Mental Health Treatment
Research and Education, Wacol, QLD 4076
P: +61 7 3271 8704

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

In the spirit of reconciliation, the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands in which QCMHR operates and their continuing connections to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and stand together with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.