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$53 million to find better mental health treatments and care

The Australian Government will provide more than $53 million for new research into better treatments, prevention and care for Australian patients facing mental health challenges.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Former Minister for Health and Aged Care

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The Turnbull Government will provide more than $53 million for new research into better treatments, prevention and care for Australian patients facing mental health challenges.

A total of 47 projects will be funded across Australia to support some of our nation’s brightest researchers.

With four million Australians experiencing some form of mental illness each year, health and medical research is critical to addressing this growing and significant health challenge.

The Turnbull Government has made mental health a priority and it is a key pillar of our National Long Term Health Plan.

This year we will invest a record $4.3 billion in mental health – including over $120 million in mental health research.

Included in the $53 million announced today, Associate Professor Gurmeet Singh from the Menzies School of Health Research will receive $3.1 million for research on the physical and emotional health of Indigenous Australians.

Indigenous Australians have high rates of mental illness and very high rates of suicide. This study will focus on lifestyle risk factors for disease progression, including for mental health and chronic disease, such as alcohol consumption.

Professor Helen Christensen from the Black Dog Institute at the University of New South Wales will receive $2.18 million to research the use of smartphones to prevent and better understand the onset of mental health problems.

At the University of New South Wales, Professor Maree Teesson will receive $1.47 million to develop a school-based program to prevent substance abuse, anxiety and depression in young people.

Professor Teesson’s research is an important new study that brings together leading scientists from across Australia to study therapies for mental illness and substance use during the critical transition period from adolescence to young adulthood.

At the University of Queensland, Professor Maree Toombs has been awarded more than $996,000 to develop an Indigenous model of mental health care to treat mood and anxiety disorders in Indigenous Australians.

Professor Toombs’ research will encompass psychological therapy and cultural healing practices developed in consultation with local, participating Indigenous communities.

The Turnbull Government is also announcing today the establishment of a new Mental Health Research Advisory Committee to ensure that National Health and Medical Research Council funds are targeted to priority mental health projects with high potential for improving Australians’ lives.

Professor Jane Gunn will chair the nine person committee which will provide expert advice on investment in mental health research and identify emerging issues of need.

The Turnbull Government is committed to ensuring people with mental health challenges get the support and treatment they need and the $53 million investment announced today is a clear sign of that commitment.

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