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Healthy Minds Research Program

Two outlines of human heads - one with a squiggly outline of a brain. The other with lots of curvy squiggles in the brain representing lots going on in the mind

Mental health is not just the absence of mental illness. It is a state of wellbeing that empowers the individual to thrive in their environment physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially.  

Our HMRI Healthy Minds Research Program aims to promote, maintain, and restore mental health and wellbeing across the lifespan.

Mental ill-health affects all Australians either directly or indirectly through our families, colleagues, friends and loved ones.

Over 2 in 5 (44%, or 8.6 million) Australians aged 16–85 are estimated to have experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life, with 1 in 5 (21%, or 4.2 million) having experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months.

The causes of mental illness are multifaceted, and may stem from complex biological, environmental, and social factors, that may also be compounded by stress and trauma. Additionally, the global pandemic and its fallout continues to present an ongoing risk to the mental health and wellbeing of Australians. 

Our Healthy Minds researchers are working with and within the community to address critical mental health challenges and create ways for all Australians to build and maintain good mental health. We are taking an integrated and collaborative approach that aims to bridge the gap between research, health care and social systems, improving mental health outcomes for a broad range of priority populations. 

Research Areas of Strength 

Our HMRI Healthy Minds Research Program brings together collective expertise in pre‐clinical and discovery science, clinical practice, education, and translation of research findings and service evaluation.

The Healthy Minds Areas of Strength address Healthy Minds collective aims and initiatives in a life-course manner.

These include:  

  • Developing Minds - focusing on ways to improve the mental health and developmental trajectories of children, adolescents, and their families.  
  • Mental Health and Comorbidity - focusing on mental health across the lifespan and comorbidity complexities, such as substance abuse. 
  • Suicide Prevention – focusing on the prevention of suicide through improving mental health and wellbeing, reducing exposure to risk factors, strengthening community safety nets, and improving clinical treatments and services. 
  • Healthy Ageing and Dementia – focusing on healthy and purposeful ageing, including creative ageing, early interventions, cognitive decline and dementia.  

Through the Areas of Strength, Healthy Minds builds stronger research collaborations and community networks, and prioritises opportunities for lived-experience advisory groups to help guide Healthy Minds activities and research.

Our Healthy Minds Research Program also has a number of outreach activities including public lectures held at HMRI. Internally, workshops and seminars bring together Healthy Minds researchers and mental health professionals from across the program to share research findings, discuss clinical needs, strengths, and challenges, and foster collaborations.

You can also catch Healthy Minds researchers discussing their exciting findings on ABC 1233 local radio on Thursday mornings (10.30am) starting in early April 2023.  

Contact the Healthy Minds Administration Team


Leadership Group
  • Co-Directors: Prof. Frini Karayanidis, Dr Agatha Conrad, Dr Ketrina Sly (acting), Dr Dara Sampson (acting)
  • Deputy Directors: Dr Dara Sampson, Dr Emily Freeman, Dr Katie McGill
  • Senior Research Advisors: Prof. Brian Kelly and Prof. Rhonda Wilson
  • Manager, Research and Engagement: Dr Erin Fuller
  • Administration Support: Linda Gerritsen  

Dr Agatha Conrad
Research Program :
  • Healthy Minds Research Program
Research Topics :
Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin
Research Program :
  • Healthy Minds Research Program
Research Topics :
Clinical Mental Health, Psychology, Schizophrenia, Stress and Addictive Disorders
Research Program :
  • Healthy Minds Research Program
Research Topics :
Clinical Mental Health
Dara Sampson
Research Program :
  • Healthy Minds Research Program
Research Topics :
Clinical Mental Health, Psychology