Innovation in mental health services is critical to meeting the changing needs of our community and support its wellbeing. This program, led by Dr Liz Seabrook, explores the nexus between the physical and digital systems involved in mental health support. We place emphasis on the stories of lived experience, engaging with people and communities to understand and address their mental health needs. 

Our program themes include: 

  • cultures of mental health 
  • intelligent systems in mental health services and design 
  • society, space and emotion 
  • ethics and the law in mental health services and design. 

Current projects and partnerships

Healthy sleep habits are important for mental wellbeing in general, but especially so for people working at non-optimal times of the day. The typical working day for many employees in the horse racing industry begins pre-dawn, so good sleep habits are essential for day-to-day functioning and mental wellbeing.  

We’re aiming to produce, deploy and evaluate a web-based smartphone app that supports good sleep hygiene practices in this group of employees. Our interdisciplinary group consists of members of the Centre for Mental Health, Centre for Social Impact and Centre for Design Innovation, as well as a statistician and a psychologist.

Completed projects and partnerships

We partnered with Family Life to undertake a multi-disciplinary approach to generating solutions that embrace the context of young parents’ lives and empower them towards doing better so their children grow up safe and well-supported by the community. Family Life’s partner, Life Without Barriers, serves vulnerable young people and parents throughout Australia and will work with Family Life to scale the project results for national impact. 

Young mothers with a history of family difficulties or growing up in care may find themselves without family or secure supports. They and their young children may be at risk of repeating history unless they receive vital support. This project aims to explore what new strategies would appeal to these young parents whose lived experience makes them wary of the social services system, and how technology might allow resources to be applied more effectively.  

Read our report ‘Doing better for vulnerable young parents and their children: an exploration of how technology could catalyse system transformation’ on the APO website

Known as The Code Grey Project, we developed guidelines for rural services to preserve safety — using literature/policy scoping, interviews and community co-design — and developed an online toolkit to directly improve rural community safety.

This research project investigated social enterprises in regional cities to understand if, where, how and why they realise wellbeing for employees and communities. We found and showed with maps and visualisations that wellbeing comes about through experiences involving work and workplace design, people involved with social enterprises and what they say and do.

We produced written findings and maps that show:

  • where within social enterprises wellbeing is realised 
  • why and how wellbeing is realised in these spaces 
  • how and to what extent social enterprises interact with other organisations to realise community-level wellbeing benefits 
  • the diversity of forms of wellbeing that social enterprises realise, and how these help communities to thrive.

The research took a practical ‘what is this and how can I apply it?’ approach, aiming to give social enterprises and supported workplaces tools and new ways of thinking about the wellbeing they generate.

Read our report  Mapping the impact of social enterprise on disadvantaged individuals and communities in Australia’s regional cities by following the link below or going direct to the APO website.

Explore our interactive animation and access toolkits at our website

Past event highlights

In June 2020 we held a book launch for 'Remote and Rural Dementia Care – Policy, Research and Practice’, by Professor Anthea Innes, University of Salford (UK), Professor Debra Morgan, University of Saskatchewan (US) and Professor Jane Farmer, Swinburne University of Technology (AUST). The book details research and practice evidence on dementia care in rural and remote settings around the world. 

As the number of people affected by dementia continues to rise, this research is an essential review of evidence and strategies to date, and a guide to future research needs and opportunities for improvements in rural dementia practice.

For practitioners, researchers, academics and policy makers, Professor Innes, Professor Farmer and dementia advocate, Kate Swaffer, explore the experiences and requirements of those living with dementia and those caring for them in personal and professional capacities in challenging geographical locations.

News and reports from this research program

  • Report: Doing better for vulnerable young parents and their children: An exploration of how technology could catalyse system transformation

    Report: Doing better for vulnerable young parents and their children: An exploration of how technology could catalyse system transformation

    October 2019

    This report explores the service and information needs of vulnerable young parents who are the beneficiaries of social services and welfare programs.

  • Report: Data for Good Collaboration

    Report: Data for Good Collaboration

    May 2021

    This project aimed to build organisational data capacity through knowledge sharing about data literacy, expertise and collaboration; and deliver data insights to create the Data for Good Collaboration model. 

Explore our other research programs

Contact the Social Innovation Research Institute

If your organisation would like to collaborate with us to solve a complex problem, or you simply want to contact our team, get in touch by calling +61 3 9214 8180 or emailing

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