Swinburne University of Technology will play an influential role as an academic partner within the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing’s (VCCMHW) Adult and Older Adult Best Practice Consortium.
The Consortium will leverage Swinburne’s digital mental health expertise through the Centre for Mental Health and Brain Sciences. It will also draw on our expertise in forensic mental health through the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, with its strong sector partnership with Victoria’s Institute of Forensic Mental Health (Forensicare).
“Swinburne is proud to be a major player in this promising, patient-led initiative. The VCCMHW's Adult and Older Adult Best Practice Consortium represents the coming together of a very novel set of voices, where senior clinicians and researchers engage with consumers and family members," says Centre for Mental Health Director, Professor Greg Murray.
"Swinburne is recognised as having unique skills and infrastructure to help transform mental health and wellbeing in Victoria. Our experts in digital mental health and forensic behavioural science will help inform care and service delivery and steer much-needed change in Victoria’s mental health system," says Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research, Professor Karen Hapgood.
Paving the way in digital and forensic mental health
Swinburne has a significant record in leading e-therapy research. Since 2008, our Centre for Mental Health has run the National eTherapy Centre (NeTC), funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, which administers a comprehensive web-based e-therapy platform called Mental Health Online.
Accessed directly by 14,000 people annually, NeTC runs a suite of evidence-based programs helping consumers overcome mental health problems. NeTC’s latest work, co-developed with mental health service consumers, incorporates emerging digital technologies including smartphone-based self-monitoring and virtual reality stimuli for use in therapy.
“If you’re going to renovate any part of the mental health system, that change must involve digital mental health. This is where Swinburne comes in,” Professor Murray adds.
The Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, in partnership with Forensicare, will bring to the Consortium their integrated practice-research expertise. Research at the centre focuses on understanding the relationship between mental health problems and criminal behaviour, and seeks to determine why people offend and what can be done to assist rehabilitation and reintegration.
Director of the Centre, Professor Michael Daffern, says it’s important to consider forensic mental health in the overhaul of Victoria's mental health system.
“Forensic mental health services are essential for people with mental health problems who are engaging in problem behaviour, or when they are involved in the criminal justice system, ensuring a more well-rounded and effective recovery process,” he says.
Driving change in Victoria’s mental health system
The VCCMHW was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and seeks to drive revolutionary change in the system. It will provide treatment, care and support to adults, lead cutting-edge research and serve as a hub for reform across the mental health sector and its workforce.
The Adult and Older Adult Best Practice Consortium will form part of the VCCMHW’s operating model. The Consortium will integrate best practice treatment, care and support with a program of research grounded in lived experience, work collaboratively and inclusively with other partners in Victoria’s health and wellbeing system, and support the centre throughout its establishment period.
The comprehensive and networked Consortium comprises local universities, regional and metropolitan area mental health services, as well as community-based organisations.