With suicide in the Defence and veteran communities a high-profile issue of concern in veteran health, Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) and the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) have united to further the field of military and veterans’ mental health research.

Researchers from both organisations will draw on GMRF’s expertise in qualitative research and QCMHR’s expertise in mental health research, data linkage and e-learning, collaborating to progress research and deliver outcomes in veterans’ mental health; an area in which GMRF has been researching and delivering results for 10 years.

“Drawing on the strengths in research expertise of both GMRF and QCMHR, this collaboration really reinforces our ability to research and deliver real outcomes for the veteran community in the field of mental health research,” said Miriam Dwyer, CEO of GMRF.

“This relationship enables us to utilise a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to understand and address areas of significant clinical and social need that impacts the health and wellbeing of veterans, their families, and the broader Australian population.”

QCMHR is Queensland’s premier mental health research organisation, with a vision to reduce the impact of mental illness in our communities. This agreement will enable QCMHR to expand their emerging and innovative programme of military and veteran mental health research.

“This exciting partnership with GMRF will allow QCMHR to contribute our significant expertise in mental health across the research spectrum, in a united effort to ensure improved mental health outcomes for our veteran population who are in critical need,” said Professor Harvey Whiteford, Director of QCMHR.
The relationship has been formalised through a five-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that will see an initial focus on research related to the mental health of military and veteran populations, with a particular focus on suicidality and co-occurring disorders.

Creating lived experience-informed training and educational videos

The first study to come out of the new relationship will use qualitative research to co-design a suite of lived experience-informed training and educational videos that highlight the interactions between civilian emergency services and veterans in the context of suicidality, from the perspectives of those with lived experience, police, and paramedics.

The project aims to inform first responders in police or paramedic services, and others who may provide crisis responses to Australian Defence Force members or veterans, about the unique experiences, culture, and other factors that can support responders providing appropriate and safe care.

The research will be undertaken by GMRF’s Principal Research Fellow, Transition and Reintegration, Dr Kerri-Ann Woodbury, QCMHR’s Head of Forensic Mental Health Research Stream, Associate Professor Edward Heffernan, and QCMHR Principal Researcher, Dr Carla Meurk.

Announcing two new GMRF Honourary Fellow

In recognition of their contribution to the field of research and opportunities for collaboration, Associate Professor Heffernan and Dr Meurk have been made Honorary Fellows of GMRF.

Together with Dr Woodbury, Associate Professor Heffernan and Dr Meurk will draw on existing datasets collected over the past decade to examine veteran mental and physical health and undertake expert data linkage analysis with the support of their research teams, to understand prevalence, specifically about risks and predictors of suicide in the veteran cohort.

“The research possibilities under the MOA are exciting and provide real hope for tangible outcomes to improve the mental health of veterans,” said Professor Harvey Whiteford.

Generously funded by National Fire Industry Association (NFIA) Patron’s Annual Walk for Charity

The research being undertaken through the MOA is being generously supported by the National Fire Industry Association (NFIA) Patron’s Annual Walk for Charity, which is aiming to raise $250,000 for GMRF’s innovative and life-changing research projects to fight the impact of major illnesses and enhance the health and well-being of veterans.

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Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) is an approved research institute whose mission is to enhance the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families and the wider Australian community through the highest quality medical research.

Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) is a research partnership between Queensland Health and The University of Queensland. Hosted by West Moreton Health, QCMHR is funded to contribute to the Queensland, Australian and global mental health research effort.

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