an image of a group of people leaning over a balcony, staring into the distance. The distance is full of bright light and everyone looks related.

The Mentally Healthy Futures Project

Working collaboratively in breaking down silos to improve youth mental health
The Mentally Healthy Futures Project is a five-year project (2023-2027) seeking to build partnerships and provide holistic, evidence-based policy recommendations to improve the mental health of Australians now and into the future.

Mentally Healthy Futures will have a particular focus on improving outcomes for young Australians, with evidence showing mounting rates of mental disorders among this group.

This project also supports the continuation of Australia’s Mental Health Think Tank, which was established in 2020 and brings together experts across the mental health sector to produce unified evidence-based directives for research and policy.

The Mentally Healthy Futures Project will democratise evidence by drawing together global and local knowledge from diverse sources – including academic literature, original research, policy case studies, and lived experience accounts.

  • Professor Maree Teesson (Director), The Matilda Centre, the University of Sydney
  • Dr Marlee Bower, Academic Lead
  • Scarlett Smout, Research Program Officer, PhD Candidate
  • Kate Ross, Senior Research Program Officer
  • Amarina Donohoe-Bales, Research Assistant
  • Sarah Harding, Project Support Officer
  • Youth Participation Scoping Review: It is increasingly common for young people to take part in advisory committees, participatory research, and consultations on decisions that impact them. But how can this be done in a way that strengthens and protects their mental health and wellbeing?
    To answer this question, The Mentally Healthy Futures Project is conducting the first scoping review to comprehensively map the mental health & wellbeing impacts of youth participation and engagement initiatives. The published protocol describes the core aims, methodology and rationale for exploring the link between youth participation (e.g., youth advisory boards, civic engagement, advocacy efforts) and wellbeing outcomes for young people involved.
    The protocol and forthcoming scoping review are co-designed and co-authored with the Youth Mental Health Advisory Team (YMHAT): a group of eight 15-24-year-olds who provided invaluable feedback, guidance and expertise at each stage of the research process.
  • Submission to the Australian Government Treasury on Measuring What Matters: The Mentally Healthy Futures Project coordinated submissions from Australia’s Mental Health Think Tank and The Matilda Centre & PREMISE Youth Advisory Board regarding the Measuring What Matters Framework. 
    Measuring What Matters is Australia’s first national wellbeing framework, aiming to track Australia’s progress using indicators that move beyond solely economic metrics such as GDP.  

The BHP Foundation is funding The University of Sydney’s Matilda Centre to roll out The Mentally Healthy Futures Project.