Mental Health Research Institute (Melbourne)

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The Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI) is one of Victoria's laboratory psychiatric research centres. It aims to lead cutting edge research focused upon improving the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of major mental disorders.

Based in Melbourne, Australia, MHRI concentrates its efforts towards understanding:

MHRI is fully accredited as an independent medical research institute by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and is affiliated with the University of Melbourne, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Monash University. MHRI also promotes postgraduate psychiatry training through its association with the university sector.

The Institute attracts competitive research funding from national and international sources and is internationally respected for its laboratory and clinical work. World leading researchers regularly visit MHRI as part of an active Visiting Professors program.


The Mental Health Research Institute was founded in 1956 as part of the Victorian Health Department. At that time the Institute specialised in common mental disorders in the community, with a focus on risk factors, prevention and appropriate treatment. The building was located close to the original Royal Park Hospital in Parkville, one of Victoria’s busiest hospitals.

A working party established in 1983 recommended that a major expansion and re-organisation should take place. This resulted in more emphasis on neuroscience and the creation of a fully independent research organisation. In 1987 the Institute was incorporated in Victoria, and has since grown rapidly from an initial staff of three to over 100 staff.

A modern neuroscientific research centre was completed in 1994 at a cost of $5.5 million. The Institute now occupies a purpose built facility that houses clinical and research laboratories with strong molecular and in-vivo capabilities.

Current Research[edit]

Some of the Institute’s latest cutting-edge projects include:

  • Collaborative development of drugs that may halt brain cell death in Alzheimer’s.
  • Research on suicide and mental illness to shape public health services so that health professionals can better assess the risk of suicide and avert tragic outcomes.
  • Development of instruments to enable GPs to diagnose dementia and depression.
  • Studies of brain structure in schizophrenia that could pave the way for interventions that will prevent the onset of psychosis in vulnerable individuals.
  • Provision of a comprehensive telephone drug advisory service for mental health consumers, carers and professionals.
  • Study of the role of oestrogen in cognitive function and brain activation that will expand our understanding of gender differences in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  • Development of Australia’s first Voices Clinic, providing cognitive behavioural therapy for people with treatment resistance auditory hallucinations and training for mental health workers to deliver the same.

Public Activities[edit]

The Mental Health Research Institute runs a number of public events during the year, including:

  • Cade Lecture – this annual lecture from a prominent researcher is open to the public and introduces the latest research in a particular field.
  • Cade Science day – Scientists are invited to participate in a series of seminars and workshops focussing on a specific area of mental illness featuring prominent researchers in the field.
  • Mental Health Cup – Businesses can support research into mental health by participating in this annual yacht race across Port Phillip Bay.
  • One in Five Extreme Cocktail party – Individual are invited to attend this function raising funds for research over a fun night out.

The Institute also accepts donations online through their website and by mail or phone.

External links[edit]