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Research funding to further support the mental health of Australians

5 August 2020
Grant success for researchers at the Matilda Centre

More than $3million in funding has been awarded to two Matilda Centre academics for projects on unifying prevention of substance use and mental disorders; and treatment of child and adolescent trauma.

Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt, recently announced the recipients of the latest round of National Health and Medical Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant funding. Two Matilda Centre academics have been successful in securing the highly competitive funding for projects aiming to improve mental health and substance use outcomes for Australians.

Professor Maree Teesson AC

Maree Teesson

Matilda Centre director, Professor Maree Teesson’s Investigator Grant aims to unify prevention efforts for substance use and mental disorders. Substance use, depression, and anxiety frequently co-occur, interact and share common risk factors. Through her investigator grant Professor Teesson aims to establish new knowledge of the causes and risks for multiple disorder development through longitudinal research.

We will use this knowledge to develop new unified prevention programs.
Professor Maree Teesson AC

A novel focus of Professor Teesson's project will be the testing of multiple behaviour change models to intervene across risk factors. This will build on her extensive body of work in the field of mental health and substance use for which she has been recognised both at a national and international level.

Dr Emma Barrett

Emma Barrett


Senior Research Fellow, Dr Emma Barrett, has been awarded an Investigator Grant to address the hidden epidemic of child and adolescent trauma. As Program Lead in Trauma and Crime Research at the Matilda Centre, Dr Barrett's project aims to enhance the understanding of the prevalence and impact of child and adolescent trauma and develop and evaluate innovative psychological interventions for those exposed to trauma early in life.

International evidence has highlighted alarmingly high rates of trauma experienced by children and adolescents. Early trauma exposure causes considerable life-long harm, including the development of debilitating mental health and substance use disorders. Despite increasing awareness and public concern, the Australian evidence-base on early trauma is limited, hence the need for Dr Barrett's work.

My vision is to significantly advance our knowledge and provide innovative solutions that empower all young Australians impacted by trauma to lead mentally healthy lives.
Dr Emma Barrett

Professor Teesson and Dr Barrett’s funding follows a previous announcement from the Hon. Greg Hunt for additional drug and alcohol funding support in relation to COVID-19. In this announcement a $0.6 million boost was given to the Matilda Centre's Cracks in the Ice and Positive Choices online portals.

Professor Maree Teesson AC

Matilda Centre Director
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Dr Emma Barrett

Program Lead in Trauma and Crime Research
View academic profile