Paul Bourke Lecture 2016- Novel directions in population mental health research

mental health 2019924 1280 e1571749126863

About the speaker

Phil Batterham is a Fellow in Mental Health Research and Acting Head at the National Institute for Mental Health Research, ANU in Canberra. He was awarded an Early Career Fellowship in 2011 and a Career Development Fellowship in 2014 from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). He is a Chief Investigator for the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention and for five NHMRC project grants. He has published 98 peer-reviewed publications, including 31 papers as first author and 21 papers with 20 or more citations. His research interests include developing tailored screening measures for mental disorders, developing online programs to prevent mental disorders, identifying suicide risk, and reducing the stigma of mental illness.

The high prevalence of mental health problems in Australia continues to place a significant burden on society. To reduce this burden on individuals and communities, new evidence-based approaches to assessment, prevention and treatment are required.

Three novel approaches to population mental health research will be discussed. Firstly, a data-driven approach to assessing mental health is creating new tools that are brief but precise in identifying individuals in the community who may be at risk for a mental illness. Secondly, e-mental health programs can increase the availability of evidence-based strategies for prevention and treatment to a broader section of the community. A new program, FitMindKit, uses automatically tailored video-based modules to increase public engagement with therapeutic materials.

Finally, assessing barriers to professional service use for people with suicidal ideation may be used to develop health promotion campaigns to further increase rates of appropriate treatment in the community. Implementing new approaches to population mental health will lead to more tailored approaches to mental health care, providing the right level of care for the individual at the right time.


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