Mental Wealth Initiative

A transdisciplinary initiative working to foster the Mental Wealth of Nations
Building the social fabric and economic prosperity of communities by developing new tools to measure, monitor and forecast national and regional dynamics of Mental Wealth.

About the research

The Mental Wealth Initiative brings together national and international experts across business, economics, law, public health, social policy, and mental health to empower communities and nations to foster their Mental Wealth.

Our transdisciplinary research team harnesses systems modelling and simulation to understand the factors that generate positive outcomes for mental health and contribute to thriving, productive and resilient communities and economies. 

Our mission

Our mission is to foster the Mental Wealth of Nations – creating environments where individuals and societies thrive, where economies prosper by prioritizing well-being, and where we can address global challenges with resilience, unity, and innovation.

Our approach

We are working to achieve our Mission by:

  • Promoting Wellbeing-focussed Economies: We champion the transition to Wellbeing Economies by introducing the "Mental Wealth" metric that extends GDP, offering a comprehensive perspective of national prosperity to assess progress.
  • Building Brain Capital and Community Cohesion: We are working with international partners to enhance mental capital, mental health, and community cohesion that are critical to social and economic prosperity.
  • Pioneering Transdisciplinary Research: We undertake cutting-edge transdisciplinary research to inform innovative policies and actions that promote mental and social wellbeing.
  • Empowering Nations with 21st Century Tools: We equip nations with state-of-the-art tools for measuring, tracking, and investing in Mental Wealth, utilizing advanced systems modelling and simulation techniques.

Learn more

Why now?

Globally we are at a critical juncture. Climate change, displaced populations, rising inequalities, food and energy insecurity, polarization, and misinformation are weakening democracies, eroding mental health and the social fabric of communities, and undermining progress towards Sustainable Development Goals. When combined with the potential disruption of generative AI, these interconnected global challenges pose substantial risks to national and global economies and social stability.

Systemic problems require systemic solutions.

A pathway to addressing these issues lies in transitioning to a Wellbeing Economy, one that better aligns and balances the interests of collective well-being and social prosperity with economic and commercial interests. This paradigm shift encompasses a ‘Mental Wealth’ approach to assess national progress, recognizing that sustainable prosperity encompasses more than just economic growth, it includes and requires social well-being and inclusivity. Systemic action requires nations to have the capacity to quantify and track Mental Wealth and generate the transdisciplinary science needed to empower decision-makers to achieve multisystem resilience, social and economic stability, and sustainable, inclusive national prosperity.

Acting systemically to address global challenges will require the combined instruments of science, technology, business, policy, politics, public mobilization, and international cooperation to build brain capital, and social cohesion, and foster the Mental Wealth of nations.

Read more on the role of national Mental Wealth Observatories in supporting transition to Wellbeing-orientated Economies.

Selected Publications

Jo-An Occhipinti, John Buchanan, William Hynes, Harris A. Eyre, Kristen Tran, Yun Ju Christine Song, Allan Fels, Adam Skinner, Sebastian Rosenberg, Ante Prodan, Goran Ujdur, Andrea N. Natsky, Troy Henderson, Raphael Hasudungan, & Ian B. Hickie. Estimating the Mental Wealth of nations: valuing social production and investment. Nature Mental Health, 2023; 1(4), 247-253:

Jo-An Occhipinti, Ante Prodan, William Hynes, Harris A. Eyre, Alex Schulze, Goran Ujdur, Marcel Tanner. Navigating a stable transition to the Age of Intelligence: A Mental Wealth perspective (October 6, 2023). Available at SSRN:  or

Jo-An Occhipinti, William Hynes, Patricia Geli, Harris Eyre, Christine Song, Ante Prodan, Adam Skinner, Goran Ujdur, John Buchanan, Roy Green, Sebastian Rosenberg, Allan Fels, & Ian B. Hickie. Building systemic resilience, productivity, and wellbeing: a Mental Wealth perspective. BMJ Global Health, 2023; 8: e012942:

Jo-An Occhipinti, Adam Skinner, Murali Doraiswamy, Shekhar Saxena, Harris A. Eyre, William Hynes, Patricia Geli, Dilip V. Jeste, Carol Graham, Yun Ju Christine Song, Ante Prodan, Goran Ujdur, John Buchanan, Sebastian Rosenberg, Paul Crosland, & Ian B. Hickie. Economic determinants: A Mental Wealth perspective on the ‘cause of causes’ of mental illness (Economics Theme Issue) Perspectives. The Bulletin of the World Health Organization, (in press as of December 2023).

Adam Skinner, Nathaniel D. Osgood, Jo-An Occhipinti, Yun Ju C Song, Ian B. Hickie. Unemployment and underemployment are causes of suicide. Science Advances, 2023; 9, eadg3758:

Jo-An Occhipinti, John Buchanan, Adam Skinner, … & Ian B. Hickie. Measuring, modelling, and forecasting the Mental Wealth of Nations. Frontiers in Public Health, 2022, Vol 10:

Jo-An Occhipinti, Adam Skinner, P. Murali Doraiswamy, … & Ian B. Hickie, on behalf of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Mental Health. Mental health: Build predictive models to steer policy. Nature, 2021; 597: 633-636:

Adam Skinner, Jo-An Occhipinti, Yun Ju Christine Song, Ian B. Hickie. Population mental health improves with increasing access to treatment: evidence from a dynamic modelling analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 2022; Vol 22:

Adam Skinner, Jo-An Occhipinti, Ante Prodan, Yun Ju Christine Song, Ian B. Hickie. Bi-stability and critical transitions in mental health care systems: a model-based analysis. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2023; 17, 5:

Harris A. Eyre, Jo-An Occhipinti, Laura Murray, William Hynes, Rym Ayadi, Mohamed Salama, M.D., Ph.D., Pawel Swieboda, et al. How Brain Capital Can Drive Progress on UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Baker Institute, November, 2023

Yun Ju Christine Song, Sebastian Rosenberg, John Mendoza, … & Ian B. Hickie. Missing in action: The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of mental health care. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2022; Vol 16 (26):

Kristen Tran, John Buchanan, Yun Ju Christine Song, Sebastian Rosenberg, Jo-An Occhipinti, Ian B. Hickie.  A Mental Wealth perspective: Crossing disciplines to understand the value of collective mental and social assets in the post-COVID-19 era. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2022; 15 (56):

William Hynes, Pawel Swieboda, Patrick Love, Jo-An Occhipinti, Harris A. Eyre. From Markets to Minds: The role of brain capital in economic security. Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, August 3, 2023:

Key reports:

Jo-An Occhipinti, Kristen Tran, Harris Eyre, Patricia Geli, Christine Song, Ian Hickie. Public release, July 2023 in partnership with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Rice University, and the Reform for Resilience Commission:  

Jo-An Occhipinti, Harris Eyre, William Hynes. US Mental Wealth Observatory Policy Memo drafted in partnership with the Federation of American Scientists and other collaborators and launched at the Science Summit of the 78th UN General Assembly. September 2023:  

Kristen Tran, Jo-An Occhipinti, John Buchanan, Sebastian Rosenberg, Yun Ju C Song, Ian B. Hickie. A contributing life: A snapshot of the value of social production. A Mental Wealth Initiative Report. Public release: February 2023:

John Buchanan, Stephen Tierney, Troy Henderson, Jo Occhipinti. From bad to worse to where? NSW Teachers Pay 2020 – 2022 and beyond. A Report for the NSW Teachers’ Federation, Jan 2023:

John Buchanan, Susan Thorp, Troy Henderson, Nick Glozier. What are sustainable workplaces? Defining the issues and opportunities for long-term owners of infrastructure assets (First research paper in a series on this topic funded by a grant from Industry Funds Management – IFM), November 2023.

Harris A. Eyre, William Hynes, Geoffrey Ling, Jo-An Occhipinti, Rym Ayadi, Michael Matthews, Ryan Abbott, Patrick Love. From neuroweapons to ‘neuroshields’: Safeguarding brain capital for national security. Policy Brief, Center for Health and Biosciences, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy:

In the media

  • The impact of Covid-19 on the Mental Wealth of Australia [21st Oct 2020]. Jo-An Occhipinti (nee Atkinson) speaks at The National Press Club of Australia:

  • Jo-An Occhipinti. Measuring Australia's 'mental wealth' and social production - women and those over 65 are playing a big role [13th March 2023].  

ABC News:

  • Jo-An Occhipinti. Mental health plays a big role in advancing the economy - we need a measure beyond GDP [10st April 2023]. 

SBS News:

  • John Buchanan. How do you respond when asked about your salary expectations? 

ABC Radio Sydney [16 February 2023]:

  • Sebastian Rosenberg. Inequity in mental health care is widening, with treatment 'out of reach' for many Australians. 

ABC News [14 March 2023]  

  • Jo-An Occhipinti & Ian B. Hickie. A challenge for new RBA governor: Unemployment and suicide are directly linked. 

The Sydney Morning Herald [16th Jul 2023]:

  • Jo-An Occhipinti. Measuring what matters: embracing Mental Wealth as an overarching indicator of national prosperity

The Policymaker [02 August 2023].

  • John Buchanan, Ian B. Hickie, & Jo-An Occhipinti. Mental wealth and jobs: without it, we’re just pouring water into a leaking bucket

The Conversation [1st Sep 2022]:

  • Raphael Gunawan Hasudungan, Andrea Natalie Natsky, & Jo-An Occhipinti. Mental health plays a big role in advancing the economy - we need a measure beyond GDP. 

The Conversation:

  • Jo-An Occhipinti, Adam Skinner, Ian B. Hickie, Christine Song. New findings show a direct causal relationship between unemployment and suicide

The Conversation:

  • John Buchanan. It’s a wake-up call: The industries that have lost nine in 10 workers in the past decade

The Age [1 January 2023]:  

  • John Buchanan & Jo-An Occhipinti. Mental wealth – the neglected force in national prosperity. 

Sydney Business Insights [March 2022]:

  • John Buchanan & Phillip Clark. How Australia can boost ‘whole of community’ happiness and what the happiest country, Finland can teach us [13th August 2022]. 

ABC Night life and Apple Podcast:

  • Jo-An Occhipinti, Ian B. Hickie, John Buchanan, & Sebastian Rosenburg. Mental wealth: Measuring progress towards the wellbeing economy. 

The Mandarin [28th July 2022]:

  • Jo-An Occhipinti & Adam Skinner. Mathematical modelling and computer simulations guide better mental health policy. 

Scientific American [18th September 2021]:

  • Erin Smith, Jay Weatherill, Carol Graham, … & Harris A. Eyre: Brain capital: A new vector for democracy strengthening [8th November 2022]. 

Brookings Institution, Up Front:

  • Jo-An Occhipinti, Adam Skinner, Ian B. Hickie, & Yun Ju Christine Song. New findings show a direct causal relationship between unemployment and suicide [13th July 2023]. 

The Australia Today:

  • John Buchanan. Australians are severely burnt out and need a workplace reset. [5 October 2023].

Proceedings of the Mental Wealth Initiative Launch Workshop 2021

Insights From our International Partners & Thought Leaders

Mental Wealth Initiative Launch Highlights

Our team

  • Dr Ante Prodan, Research Affiliate
  • Dr Andrea Natsky, Postdoctoral Health Economics Research Fellow
  • Ms Kristen Tran, Research Associate
  • Ms Isabel Li, Research Associate
  • Mr Goran Ujdur, PhD Candidate
  • Dr Troy Henderson, Senior Research Officer
  • Dr Bo Wang, Project Coordinator  
  • The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull AC - Former Prime Minister of Australia
  • Lucinda Mary Turnbull AO - Businesswoman, Philanthropist, Urbanist
  • Professor Alan Fells AO - Economist, Lawyer, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
  • The Hon. Dr Craig Emerson - Economist and Former Politician (Australian Labour Party)
  • Professor William Hynes – Senior Economist, Climate Change, World Bank
  • Professor Harris Eyre - Neuroscientist, Head of Brain Capital Alliance, San Francisco

Jo-An Occhipinti

  • Brain and Mind Centre, 94 Mallett Street, Camperdown, NSW