QCMHR works with the Australian Government Department of Health in a range of ways to improve the mental health of Australians.
For example, to achieve actions directed by the National Mental Health Plan, QCMHR was engaged by the Australian Government Department of Health to develop a national service planning framework that establishes targets for the mix and level of the full range of mental health services, backed by innovative funding models.
In 2016, the Danish National Research Foundation awarded QCMHR Director, Professor John McGrath, a prestigious Niels Bohr Professorship, which aims to kindle innovation in psychiatric epidemiology. The Niels Bohr Professorship is based at the National Centre for Register-based Research at Aarhus University, Denmark, in partnership with The University of Queensland and Harvard University.
The NHMRC John Cade Fellowship in Mental Health Research implements the third and final element of the Government’s $26.2 million strategic investment in mental health research and aims to build national leadership and expand capacity in Australian mental health research. These prestigious Fellowships are named after Dr John Cade AM (1912-1980), an Australian psychiatrist working in Melbourne after World War II, who discovered the effectiveness of lithium as a treatment for bipolar disorder. This discovery provided a transformative alternative to the existing therapies of shock treatment or prolonged hospitalisation and was a significant breakthrough in the pharmacological treatment of mental illness.
Prof John McGrath was awarded the prestigious Fellowship in 2013, providing him with $750,000 a year for five years to study ways to prevent serious mental health disorders such as schizophrenia. Prof McGrath used the Fellowship funding to establish the Cadence clinical trials program in South East Queensland which aims to conduct randomised control trials of new candidate treatments for those with psychosis, particularly early psychosis. The Cadence project operates under the auspices of QCMHR and The University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute.
The Cadence team also collaborates with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) to build capacity in the next generation of mental health researchers.
The University of Queensland in America (TUQIA), through a gift from Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates, has funded the National Adolescent Mental Health Surveys led by Dr Holly Erskine, to investigate the prevalence of mental disorders in adolescents in Kenya, Indonesia and Vietnam. In collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, USA; The African Population Health Research Center, Kenya; Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia; and the Institute for Sociology at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, the project will use nation-wide surveys to determine the prevalence of mental disorders in adolescents aged 10-17 and identify factors that influence a young person’s risk of poor mental health. The first of its kind study is urgently needed to address the lack of data on the prevalence of mental disorders in Africa and South East Asia. Survey results will help health agencies plan and prioritise services more effectively and determine where funding should be distributed.
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The Park Centre for Mental Health Treatment,
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