Nav: Home

Research investment failing mental health

October 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."
-end-


Research Australia

Related Depression Articles:

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.
Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.
CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
Post-natal depression in dads linked to depression in their teenage daughters
Fathers as well as mothers can experience post-natal depression -- and it is linked to emotional problems for their teenage daughters, new research has found.
Being overweight likely to cause depression, even without health complications
A largescale genomic analysis has found the strongest evidence yet that being overweight causes depression, even in the absence of other health problems.
More Depression News and Depression Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...