Our Work in Mental Health

We are a leading voice on the prevention of mental ill-health and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing – through policy, research, workforce development, and innovative local and national programs.  

There is no doubt that Australia must improve the service system to ensure that people experiencing mental illness get the support they need – when they need it, where they need it, and in the format that suits them best.

But we must also prioritise reducing mental ill-health and its impacts. Our vision for Australia must also include more people living well, so that they don’t need to access the service system at all. We need to look at whole of life approaches to prevent mental ill-health and not just wait for an episode severe enough to warrant a response. 

Everyone has a role to play in mental health – but leadership is needed to show people what role they play and assist them in the knowledge and skills needed.

We are guided by evidence and our values in all the work we do. Our work in mental health includes:

  • Advocating for prevention-focused approaches that complement treatment and recovery approaches to ensure a more effective response to mental health and mental ill-health
  • Building the capacity of diverse workforces (including teachers, media, health workers, families and others) to contribute to the prevention of mental ill-health and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing
  • Developing mental health policy that puts prevention first - informed by evidence as well as the needs of diverse sectors, workforces and communities
  • Increasing the understanding of the link between the prevention of mental ill-health, prevention of suicide, and the prevention of other health and behavioural risks
  • Developing, testing and implementing scalable mental health initiatives and programs that focus on the reduction of mental ill-health, improved mental health and wellbeing and the elimination of stigma
  • Leading the development of better connections across prevention approaches and service systems
  • Contributing to the evidence base with a focus on translational research.
Our organisation and our staff play a leading role in the prevention of mental ill-health and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing, nationally and internationally.

In addition to our policy, programs and research, we support broader mental health work across Australia and the world.

We work in partnership with national and state commissions and departments of health, primary health networks, other mental health organisations, diverse sectors and governments as well as those with personal experience of mental ill-health. 

We have research partnerships with:

  • University of Newcastle, Priority Research Centre for Mental Health
  • Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Hunter New England Local Health District.

Our director and/or other staff at the Hunter Institute are a current member of:

  • NSW Mental Health Commission, Community Advisory Group
  • QLD Mental Health Commission, Early Action Reference Group
  • NSW Wellbeing Collaborative
  • Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, Community Advisory Group
  • Centre for Resources Health and Safety, University of Newcastle.
We have a diverse and passionate team who are dedicated to the prevention of mental ill-health and the promotion of mental health and wellbeing.

Our skills include:

  • Translating evidence into scalable prevention programs and practical resources that are fit-for-purpose
  • Delivering effective and tailored responses to the prevention of mental ill-health at a regional and national level
  • Working with a range of health and non-health sectors, communities and partners
  • Workforce development – including the development and delivery of workforce plans, pre-service curriculum approaches, tailored training and training packages
  • Policy development – including whole of community responses as well as workplace, school and media responses
  • Translational research and program evaluation
  • Strategic communication and stakeholder management.

We are competent and experienced in working with a broad range of  mental health initiatives, such as:

  • Health services, community services and non-government organisations
  • Educational settings- including schools, early childhood services, universities and registered training organisations
  • Media and communication organisations
  • Workplaces and industries
  • Governments and policymakers
  • Families and carers
  • Emergency services
  • Research organisations
  • People with a lived experience of mental ill-health, with a particular focus on families and carers
  • Communities - including priority populations such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex, and those from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Related resource

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Prevention First

Prevention First is a plain language document that provides a new national framework for strategic action to prevent mental ill-health and promote mental health and wellbeing.

Related program

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Response Ability

Response Ability supports the preparation of teachers and early childhood educators, by providing resources for use in their professional training. The aim of the program is to better prepare these professionals for their roles in mental health promotion, the prevention of mental illness, and early intervention.

Related news

Himh Stacked Logo
World-class mental health research centre announced in Budget 2017

$5million has been allocated to Hunter Institute of Mental Health and Black Dog Institute for the establishment of a Centre for Research Excellence in the Prevention of Anxiety and Depression.

Back to Prevention and Promotion Approaches