Mental Health

Research Overview

The mental health nursing research program at the University of Melbourne investigates nursing practice with the aim of developing new knowledge and translating existing knowledge, to improve the experience and outcomes for people who are dealing with mental health problems.

This is achieved through practice-relevant studies addressing nursing practices and models of care that impact the lives of people engaged in such care.

Mental Health research is often co-produced between consumers and nurses. Academics across the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing and the Department of Nursing collaborate in this research and partner with researchers across many disciplines.

The focus of the research program includes:

  • Developing and enhancing the use of recovery oriented and patient centred models of care
  • Exploring and minimising the use of coercive practices in mental health care
  • Translating the effective administration of medicines in mental healthcare
  • Understanding practices in healthcare decision making, and enhancing use of supported decision making

Research projects

The Mental Health nursing research program at the University of Melbourne was established in 2000. Current studies are underway and reflect the array of practical partnerships with health care organisations and policy leaders.

Current RHD student work

  • Teresa Kelly: Heart health of people with longterm mental health problems (to complete in 2017)
  • Rachel Tindall: Longitudinal study of young people’s engagement with early psychosis services (to complete 2019)
  • Justine Fletcher: Evaluation of Safewards Victoria (to complete 2019)
  • Laura Mundy: Case study of facility dogs in Headspace youth services. (to complete 2020)

Future plans for projects & scholarships

Future projects will focus on building knowledge and nursing research capacity across these key domains:

  • Consumer led decision making & peer work – identifying corresponding nursing skills
  • Identifying and enhancing effective therapeutic micro-practices in nursing
  • Adaption of evidence-based practices for residential/inpatient settings
  • Building the evidence base for recovery-oriented models of care




  • Prof Marie Gerdtz, Department of Nursing, UoM
  • Prof Cathy Humphries, Department of Social Work, UoM
  • Dr Lisa Brophy, School of Global and Population Health, UoM
  • Ms Justine Fletcher, School of Global and Population Health, UoM
  • Prof Jane Pirkis, School of Global and Population Health, UoM
  • Prof Carol Harvey, Psychosocial Research Centre, UoM
  • Prof Bernadette McSherry, Centre for Social Equity, UoM
  • Prof Sue Cotton, Orygen Youth Health, UoM
  • Ms Rachel Tindall, Orygen Youth Health, UoM
  • Dr Shona Francey, Orygen Youth Health, UoM
  • Dr Magenta Simmon, Orygen Youth Health, UoM
  • Dr Kelly Allot, Orygen Youth Health, UoM
  • Assoc Prof Natisha Sands, Deakin University
  • Dr Melissa Petrakis, Monash University

Multidisiplinary co-investigators at:

  • Orygen Youth Health
  • St.Vincent’s Melbourne
  • Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Northwestern Mental Health
  • Monash Health
  • Barwon Health
  • Health and Community Services Union


  • Prof  Niels Buus, University of Sydney
  • Prof Stuart Kinner, University of Queensland
  • Prof Sharon Lawn, Flinders University
  • Dr Kristy Koehne, Flinders University
  • Dr Carmela Solomon, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Catherine Easton, Charles Sturt University


  • Prof Joy Duxbury, University of Central Lancashire, UK
  • Prof Brian McKenna, University of Auckland, NZ
  • Prof Mike Slade, University of Nottingham, UK
  • Prof Sampson Tse, University of Hong Kong


  • Department of Health Victoria, Chief Psychiatrist’s Office
  • National Health And Medical Research Council
  • Independent Mental Health Advocacy Service
  • Heart Foundation
  • National Mental Health Commission