fbpx Tonelle Handley | HMRI

Dr Tonelle Handley

Dr Tonelle Handley
Research Program:

What are your research interests?

  • Improving mental health outcomes for people in rural and remote areas
  • Identifying risk factors for suicide among vulnerable groups
  • Increasing access to mental health services across all areas of Australia

Why did you get into research?

While studying psychology, I became very interested in the different mental health challenges that people face, but I knew the clinical path wasn’t for me. We did a big research project during the final year of the degree, and I realised that research was a great fit for my interests.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

People in rural and remote areas of Australia face a lot of challenges in getting appropriate care for their mental health. Improving the recognition of mental health problems in these areas, breaking down the stigma around these issues, and improving access to services for mental health is our ultimate goal.


Dr Tonelle Handley is a research fellow with the University of Newcastle’s School of Medicine and Public Health, and Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health. Her research focuses on rural mental health from an epidemiological perspective, identifying population-level correlates of mental health problems and identifying potential avenues to prevent mental illness and improve treatment options for this vulnerable population. Her work involves using large-scale data sets to identify areas of need and potential solutions, and translating these findings into community-level strategies to improve the lives of rural and remote residents.

Future Focus

Improving the lives of rural and remote Australians by increasing the recognition of and response to mental health problems in these areas.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Rural mental health
  • Suicide prevention
  • Epidemiology and data analysis