Research excellence: Helping young people recover

Published: Wednesday 18th November 2015

A very quick background on you

I commenced my career as a clinical psychologist working in severe mental health. I became progressively interested in youth mental health and held a number of posts at Orygen Youth Health in Melbourne, including Deputy Clinical Director. Whilst undertaking clinical and training roles, I completed my PhD in psychology. I led research in relapse prevention in psychosis in young people, and have also undertaken research into violence in serious mental illness, and personality disorders in youth. In recent years I have formed a collaboration with researchers at Orygen and The University of Melbourne in develop and evaluate novel online and mobile interventions to support young people, and their carers, in their long-term recovery from serious mental health problems.

What led you to choose this career path?

I was drawn to clinical psychology from a very young age. I think I was motivated by key mentors in my family and from late secondary school. My interest in research grew through the wisdom of my early career mentors who instilled curiosity and open-minded about complex clinical problems.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am working on a number of trials of highly novel interventions for people in the early and later stages of serious mental health problems. The team is evaluating the potential of purpose built online and mobile applications that harness moderated social networking and positive psychology to increase well-being and social functioning and reduce the risks of setbacks in symptoms. In addition, we are utilising novel ways of collecting data using real-time surveys completed by participants on their smartphones.

What do you enjoy most about your research?

Working with creative and enthusiastic teams with a wide range of great knowledge and skills and working on problems that have serious health and quality of life consequences.

How does your research make a difference in the community?

Everything our team is researching is aimed at improving quality of life for some of the most vulnerable people in the community, namely those suffering from, or caring for those with serious mental health problems.