Greg Hunt announces $10 million for National Mental Health Research Centre

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced that a national network of mental health researchers will work with more than 2,000 people living with mental illness to deliver better models of mental health care across Australia.

The new national centre, called ALIVE, will receive $10 million from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Special Initiative in Mental Health

Operating from research hub, to be based at the University of Melbourne, ALIVE will establish an Academy of Lived Experience and Co-Design Living Labs at 14 universities across all states and territories. 

Minister Hunt said the centre will use research to rethink models of mental health care and the way they are delivered.

“The Australian Government’s investment in mental health services and suicide prevention in 2020-21 is at a record high of $5.9 billion,” he said. “This not only delivers better treatment of mental health conditions, but provides Australian researchers the tools to improve treatment.”

“ALIVE will drive a national research agenda to deliver innovative, evidence-based mental health care. The centre complements the National Mental Health Commission’s reform program so that all people in Australia can lead fulfilling lives, participating socially and economically in thriving communities.

“This national network will grow and develop the next generation of mental health researchers in Australia.”

The centre will be led by Associate Professor Victoria Palmer who leads the University of Melbourne’s Integrated Mental Health Research Program and is internationally recognised for her expertise in primary care mental health research.

“Our approach begins with the lived experience of people with mental health conditions as central to the co-design of the transformation that is required across the health care system,” said Associate Professor Victoria Palmer.

“By working hand-in-hand with those living with mental illness and carers we aim to develop a better system of care which saves lives and improves outcomes.”

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO said the new national centre was the result of a considered assessment of existing mental health research and would complement other government initiatives.

“This centre is a strategic investment in national collaboration to develop long-term partnerships between research, health care and service delivery. It is designed to find approaches to prevention and treatment that can address the issue at a national scale,” said Professor Kelso.