NHMRC funding of mental health research

Philip J Batterham, John McGrath, Patrick D McGorry, Frances J Kay-Lambkin, Ian B Hickie and Helen Christensen
Med J Aust 2016; 205 (8): 350-351. || doi: 10.5694/mja16.00179

A case for better alignment of research funding with burden of disease

Mental health research has long been the poor cousin in medical research, despite mental illness being both an independent and comorbid risk factor for every major medical disease, and a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality. Of the five major non-communicable disease areas, mental illness has the largest impact on the world economy by reducing gross domestic product.1 Yet, 11 times more money is donated from the private and corporate sectors to cancer research than to mental health research. In addition, cancer research receives twice the funding from governments.2

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  • Philip J Batterham1
  • John McGrath2,3
  • Patrick D McGorry4,9
  • Frances J Kay-Lambkin5,6
  • Ian B Hickie7
  • Helen Christensen8

  • 1 Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
  • 2 Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 3 Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Brisbane, QLD
  • 4 Orygen, National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 5 NHMRC Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
  • 6 Priority Research Centre for Brain and Mental Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW
  • 7 Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 8 Black Dog Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, NSW
  • 9 Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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