A further $20m in funding prioritised for national suicide prevention and mental health research

Posted 27th May 2020 in Research

The impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and restrictions on the mental health and wellbeing of many Australians has prompted an additional funding boost of $20 million from the Australian Government.

Announced this week by the Federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, the funding includes $3 million for new grants towards research to improve the national mental health system response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is in addition to providing support for Australians to manage their mental health and wellbeing. 

An additional $10.3 million investment will support three research projects as part of the Million Minds Mental Health Research Mission dedicated to suicide prevention nationally. These recipients include:

  • University of Melbourne (Professor Jane Pirkis): This project will receive $5.6 million towards research for the prevention of suicide in boys and men. This research will trial five interventions designed to encourage men to seek help. 
  • University of New South Wales (Scientia Professor Helen Christensen AO):  This project will receive $3.7 million for the Under the Radar Project. This project will develop a comprehensive care model using digital, peer support and face-to-face services.
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (Associate Professor Rebecca Giallo): This project will receive $951,000 to research suicide prevention among men in early fatherhood. This project will develop effective interventions to improve men's mental health during early fatherhood.

According to Life in Mind Project Lead, Amanda McAtamney, the funding announcement demonstrates the importance of research and an evidence-informed approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing.

“The Life in Mind team congratulates all recipients of funding and welcome this renewed commitment from the government prioritising suicide prevention and mental health research,” Ms McAtamney said.

“It is pleasing to see Professor Pirkis, Professor Christensen and Associate Professor Giallo all receive support to continue their vitally important suicide-related research projects.”

The grant opportunity and research project funding allocations will complement the recently announced National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan.

Life in Mind, in collaboration with the University of Melbourne is encouraging Australian researchers planning or already conducting suicide-related research regarding the COVID-19 pandemic to share their research updates and ideas. 

This will form part of the National Leadership in Suicide Prevention Research project, led by Professor Pirkis and Dr Lennart Reifels. The information collected will be housed on the national suicide prevention online portal. Read more and please get in touch via: https://lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/research/australian-covid-19-suicide-research

For more information on the Government’s additional funding, read Minister Hunt’s media release: https://www.health.gov.au/ministers/the-hon-greg-hunt-mp/media/additional-20-million-for-mental-health-and-suicide-prevention-research

Learn more about the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan here: https://lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/the-national-suicide-prevention-adviser