Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation has been unveiled: a partnership between the South Australian Mental Health Commission, the Adelaide Crows and Flinders University.
“We are not winning the battle against mental health, and we can’t wait any longer to do something about it,” said Breakthrough Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Shiell. “We need to find new ways to take action and prevent people from reaching a crisis point in the future.
“Mind and brain research is the only way to know what action needs to be taken to create a life free from mental illness.”
The foundation will work with the government, mental health services, researchers, policymakers, non-government organisations and the Adelaide community to conduct groundbreaking research into a range of mental health concerns.
“One in two Australian adults will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and right now, one in five Australians has a mental health issue,” said Shiell. “More people between 15-44 years are dying from suicide than any other cause, and this is not acceptable.”
Areas of focus for the foundation will be determined by an advisory panel, which includes Professor Ian Hickie – one of Australia’s first National Mental Health Commissioners. The primary focus will be on developing new technology, and extensive research into early causes and triggers of different mental conditions.
The SA Mental Health Commission believe that the foundation will allow the development of a state-wide research strategy that can assist the high number of Australians who will experience mental illness throughout their lives.
“The Breakthrough Foundation has great potential to attract significant funding for research to strengthen the mental health and wellbeing of South Australians,” said SA Mental Health Commissioner Chris Burns. “It’s important that research is undertaken into the whole-of-community aspects of mental health and wellbeing and not just the clinical crisis points.”
Flinders University will also provide support to Breakthrough, using the institution’s research capabilities to explore psychology and digital health initiatives.
The university’s involvement will include the development of an app that will assess digital data to create insights into mental illness.
“Mental health is something that in one way or another affects us all – whether we’re facing a personal challenge or supporting a loved one through theirs,” said Flinders University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Stirling.
“That’s why Flinders is seeking to bring a specific research focus to mental health through our plans to establish a dedicated Mental Health Research Institute – an ambition which will be supported by the creation of the Breakthrough Foundation, which assists people to directly donate to prevention-centric research into those areas of mental health they want to support.”
The Adelaide Football Club will contribute to the exposure of, and conversation about, mental health issues, using its May 5 match against Carlton at Adelaide Oval to highlight the importance of the research.
Breakthrough is currently running a fundraising campaign for the research. To donate, SMS ‘Tackle’ to 0437 371 371. For more information visit breakthroughfoundation.org.au.Jump to next article