Research investment failing mental health

Oct 03, 2008

More money and effort needs to be directed to understanding the causes and treatment of mental disorders to ensure improvements in the health of the community and the one in five people that experience mental illness in any one year.

Experts from AFFIRM – The Australia Foundation for Mental Health Research and the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) said that Mental Health Week, which begins on Sunday, is an opportunity for the community to support research on an illness which impacts many Australians.

Professor Helen Christensen, CMHR Director and Board Member with AFFIRM, said that increased investment in mental health research will improve prevention of mental disorders, help with predicting risk and assist in the development of better treatments.

"Relatively speaking, mental health research has received little of the research dollar relative to the burden of disease it contributes," she said. "One in five Australians experience mental illness in their lifetime, but the best figures to date suggest only three per cent of total research and development funding in health is directed to mental health disorders.

"Research into mental health disorders in young people is particularly important because depression and anxiety begin in childhood and become more prevalent in adolescence. Young Australians rate depression and suicide as the leading issue confronting them, yet we have little practical knowledge as to the means to prevent suicide in this age group."

Associate Professor Kathy Griffiths of AFFIRM and CMHR said that the stigma attached to mental health disorders means that the issue is often brushed under the carpet.

"Some 21 per cent of Australian adults say they would be unwilling to work with an individual with depression, 30 per cent would not vote for a politician with depression and 25 per cent believe one can just 'snap out' of depression. These public misconceptions may contribute to the decision by two thirds of people with a mental illness not to seek professional help.

"This not only has serious implications for an individual's quality of life and community well being, one wonders if it also means that research, and research funding, is stigmatised too," she said.

Chair of AFFIRM, former Senator Margaret Reid said that Mental Health Week was a time to consider the important role of research in contributing to improving the mental health of our communities. "Mental illness extends beyond individuals and affects family, friends and the wider community. It affects us all," she said. "Research is critical if we are to make longstanding improvements in the health of our community."

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Continued reliance on Windows XP in physician practices may threaten data security

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pets and their therapeutic effects

Mar 24, 2014

A prestigious Veterinary Record journal has published a feature in which Professor Daniel Mills and Dr Sophie Hall discuss the therapeutic effects of companion animals.

Pilots' mental health a concern amid jet mystery

Mar 23, 2014

Reinforced doors with keypad entries. Body scanners and pat-downs. Elaborate crew maneuvers when a pilot has to use the restroom. All those tactics are designed to keep dangerous people out of the cockpit. ...

Climate conditions help forecast meningitis outbreaks

Mar 18, 2014

Determining the role of climate in the spread of certain diseases can assist health officials in "forecasting" epidemics. New research on meningitis incidence in sub-Saharan Africa pinpoints wind and dust ...

Multilevel approach to coping with stigmas identified

Feb 20, 2014

Socially stigmatized groups have poorer health than non-stigmatized groups, but a team of researchers believes that more emphasis on two-way and multidisciplinary interventions will have a greater and more successful impact ...

Up in arms

Jan 28, 2014

In December 2012, when Adam Lanza stormed into the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., with a rifle and killed 20 children and six adult staff members, the United States found itself immersed ...

The long shadow of World War II

Jan 22, 2014

World War II ravaged much of Europe, and its long-term effects are still being felt. A new survey shows that elderly people who experienced the war as children are more likely to suffer from diabetes, depression ...

Recommended for you

Obese British man in court fight for surgery

Jul 11, 2011

A British man weighing 22 stone (139 kilograms, 306 pounds) launched a court appeal Monday against a decision to refuse him state-funded obesity surgery because he is not fat enough.

2008 crisis spurred rise in suicides in Europe

Jul 08, 2011

The financial crisis that began to hit Europe in mid-2008 reversed a steady, years-long fall in suicides among people of working age, according to a letter published on Friday by The Lancet.

New food labels dished up to keep Europe healthy

Jul 06, 2011

A groundbreaking deal on compulsory new food labels Wednesday is set to give Europeans clear information on the nutritional and energy content of products, as well as country of origin.

Overweight men have poorer sperm count

Jul 04, 2011

Overweight or obese men, like their female counterparts, have a lower chance of becoming a parent, according to a comparison of sperm quality presented at a European fertility meeting Monday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

A recent spate of infections from a frequently deadly Middle East virus is raising new worries about efforts to contain the illness, with infectious disease experts urging greater vigilance in combatting ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Thinnest feasible nano-membrane produced

A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The ...

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...