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Military and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream

Military and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream

Mental health and suicide are important health issues in military and veteran communities, impacting the lives of many current and ex-serving defence personnel and their families.

In response, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) has now formed a dedicated Military and Veterans' Mental Health Research Group under the leadership of Professor Ed Heffernan who is head of QCMHR's Forensic Mental Health Research Stream, Director of Queensland's Forensic Mental Health Service (Queensland Health), and psychiatrist in the Australian Army Reserve. 

The group has a vision to create new knowledge about the mental health of serving and ex-serving Defence members and is undertaking projects that are aligned with a number of Defence Health Research Priorities (2021-2025), including (i) Mental Health, (ii) Measuring and monitoring the health of the force, (iii) Health of the future war fighter, (iv) Occupational and environmental health, and (v) Health system performance and efficiency. Download our capability statement

Our work is organised across three research programs, outlined in the figure below. 
MV mental health program

Program Origins

Our research program has grown out of an intersection between A/Prof Ed Heffernan’s role as the Director Of Queensland’s Forensic Mental Health Service, the activities of QCMHR’s Forensic Mental Health Research Stream, Ed’s clinical expertise in Psychiatry, and his role as a Psychiatrist in the Army Reserves.

Current areas of collaborative research focus for our Military and Veterans' Mental Health Research Group are underpinned by the development of a unique linked dataset, known as Partners in Prevention. This dataset, produced in collaboration between the Queensland Forensic Mental Health Service and our Forensic Mental Health Research Stream, includes over 200,000 suicide crisis events which have been linked to 70,000 individuals who were in contact with Queensland police or ambulance responders between 2014-2017. Two thousand of these individuals relate to Defence personnel, or their families, who have experienced a suicide crisis.

Key Partners

Our research group is proud to partner with the following organisations in the conduct of our work:

  • Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, with whom we now have a formal military and veterans' research collaboration
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs
  • Royal Commission into Defence and Veterans Suicides
  • Queensland Police Service and Queensland Ambulance Service (First Responders)
  • Toowong Private Hospital

Staff

Professor Ed Heffernan

HeadForensic Mental Health Research Stream and Military and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream DirectorQueensland Forensic Mental Health Service Acacemic Title HolderRoyal Brisbane Clinical Unit and School of Public Health, The University of Queensland



Associate Professor Carla Meurk

Associate Head and Principal ResearcherForensic Mental Health Research Stream and Military and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream Adjunct Associate ProfessorSchool of Public Health, The University of Queensland



Professor Darrell Crawford

Affiliate memberMilitary and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream Director of ResearchGallipoli Medical Research Foundation



Miriam Dwyer

Affiliate memberMilitary and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream Chief Executive OfficerGallipoli Medical Research Foundation



Dr Kerri-Anne Woodbury

Affiliate memberMilitary and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream Principal Research FellowGallipoli Medical Research Foundation



Dr Michael Lam

Research OfficerForensic Mental Health Research Stream and MIlitary and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream Adjunct FellowSchool of Public Health, The University of Queensland



Shannon Dias

Research AssistantMilitary and Veterans' Mental Health Research Stream Industry FellowSchool of Public Health, The University of Queensland



Emilia Janca

Principal Project OfficerForensic Mental Health Research Stream


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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.