Mental health problems place a significant burden on individuals and society. By drawing together theory and evidence-based therapeutic approaches from psychology with population health methodology, it is possible to scale up programs to fill unmet need in mental health services. Population mental health research aims to improve mental health outcomes in the community by identifying effective approaches to promotion, identification, prevention and treatment.
Examples of research in each of these areas will be presented. These examples will include research to identify optimal messaging to promote help seeking for suicidal thoughts and behaviours in the community, validation of new mental health screening tools, and the development and evaluation of a tailored online program to address comorbid mental health problems. Increased multidisciplinary and translational research is needed to reduce the burden of mental illness in the community.
Brief bio: Dr Phil Batterham is Acting Head of the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research and is supported by an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship. His research interests including better assessment of mental health in the community, suicide prevention and internet-based interventions to treat and prevent mental health problems.