Flinders’ new spotlight on mental health

This October, during Mental Health Awareness Month, Flinders is pleased to announce the Flinders University Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing; a multi-disciplinary research institute improving global mental health and wellbeing.

Previously known as the Órama Institute, the re-named Institute continues to produce world-class research outcomes for those who most need improved mental health.

By focusing on optimising people’s mental health and wellbeing across their lifespan, researchers are homing on transitional life stages and circumstances where vulnerability to mental illness is especially high.

This includes:

  • Early childhood through to adolescence and young adulthood, when developing brains are much more sensitive to mental health challenges.
  • Later life, when older adults can face significant challenges with retirement, loneliness and ageism, combined with serious physical and mental decline.
  • Groups of individuals whose professional roles put them at especially high risk, including military veterans and other first responders, sportspeople and athletes.

With this Institute alongside the likes of Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute and the Caring Futures Institute, Vice President and Executive Dean of the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work Professor Deborah West says it shows that the expansive work of Flinders’ institutes and centres ensures world-class multi-disciplinary research is undertaken across the University’s broad footprint.

“By examining science and engineering through to people and society, health and wellbeing, our institutes and centres are driving Flinders’ research excellence and ensure that our people collaborate with the best minds to bring about real-world solutions,” says Professor West.

“Sitting within the University’s powerful research network, Flinders University Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing has an exceptional basis to continue promoting and supporting wellbeing and developing solutions that will best understand, address and prevent mental illness.”

During Mental Health Awareness Month, Flinders University will shine a light on current knowledge of prevention of mental illness, as well as ways of improving the treatment of people experiencing mental health issues.

“Mental health has long been defined as the absence of mental illness, focusing on such aspects as depression, anxiety and more acute conditions of psychopathology. But being able to thrive in life comes not merely from the absence of mental illness, but from the presence of wellbeing,” says Mathew Flinders Fellow Professor Tracey Wade, Director of the Flinders University Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

“Having a life worth living means using the stresses in our lives as chances for growth, while using our strengths and potential to nurture ourselves so that we can seize opportunities and lead purposeful, engaged lives. It means we have a sense of belonging and value within our communities.”

The spotlight on Mental Health Awareness Month will continue in the Fearless Conversations series of online presentations on 12 October. Industry leaders and researchers will fearlessly explore the connection between genetics and environmental factors such as stress that affect mental health outcomes and how we, as a society, can do more to reduce the burden on families and communities. Register for Fearless Conversations here.

Read more on the Flinders University Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing at https://www.flinders.edu.au/institute-mental-health-wellbeing

Posted in
College of Education, Psychology and Social Work Flinders University Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing Research