Mental Health Program

MUDRIH Mental Health Program Aims

Formally established in 2009 the program aims to:

  • increase access to mental health services for rural and remote Australians
  • improve the ability of health professionals to recognise and deal with mental health issues among their clients and patients
  • increase the awareness of mental health issues among people living in rural and remote areas
  • provide mentoring and supervision for undergraduate and postgraduate students of mental health disciplines within the MUDRIH footprint.

Mental health sunset


Rural Mental Health Workforce

Addressing the challenges rural and remote service providers face in recruiting and retaining specialist mental health professionals is a key focus of the mental health team at MUDRIH. The Mental Health Vacation School is a novel recruitment strategy developed by the Mental Health unit and is the subject of a longitudinal research study.

Indigenous mental health

The mental health team at MUDRIH has expertise in research involving Indigenous people and Indigenous suicide. Their research focuses on the following areas:

  • Help seeking for mental health problems
  • Mental health services for Aboriginal people
  • Mental Health literacy of Aboriginal people and
  • Aboriginal suicide prevention strategies

Parental mental illness

Research focuses upon vulnerable families, particularly with regard to the impact of parental problems (such as mental illness and/or substance abuse) on children. The central aim is to reduce the cycle of mental health problems in families.  Lead researchers Professor Maybery, Dr. Andrea Reupert and Dr Mel Goodyear have a combined total of over 30 publications, grant income over $3,000,000 and seven HDR students working on various projects in this area. The research group is nationally and internationally recognised for its original and innovative contribution to the field of parental mental health and the impact of parental mental illness on parenting and children. Key research partners include The National COPMI initiative, The Bouverie Centre – La Trobe University, the Victorian Government FaPMI strategy and The Parenting Research Centre. See also Dr Goodyear's 2014 presentation to the International Bipolar Foundation about understanding family resilience. (Vimeo 46:32 mins)

Victorian Government Mental Illness Research Fund (MIRF)

Professor Darryl Maybery and his team of researchers and agencies have been awarded $1,855,891 to expand their research in the area of families with a parent with a mental illness.  The project – Developing an Australian-first recovery model for parents in Victorian mental health and family services  – was one of five successful projects to be funded by the Victorian Mental Illness Research Fund. (See the Let's Talk About Children page.)


The Mental Health unit facilitates and hosts a range of training and events throughout the year. See the MUDRIH Short Courses page  and Events Calendar  for details of up and coming training and events.

Program Evaluation

The Mental Health unit is keen to assist rural and remote services evaluate their programs. The team has experience and expertise in working with service providers and government departments evaluate undertake new and existing programs.


Aboriginal youth suicide prevention pilot projects in Victoria
(funded by Department of Health, Victorian Government)


Isaacs, A., & Sutton, K. (2016). An Aboriginal youth suicide prevention project in rural Victoria. Advances in Mental Health, 14(2), 118-125
Hearn, S., Wanganeen, G., Sutton, K., & Isaacs, A. N. (2016). The Jekkora group: an Aboriginal model of early identification, and support of persons with psychological distress and suicidal ideation in rural communities. Advances in Mental Health, 14(2), 96-105
Isaacs, A. N., Sutton, K., Hearn, S., Wanganeen, G., & Dudgeon, P. (2017). Health workers' views of help seeking and suicide among Aboriginal people in rural Victoria. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 25(3), 169-174.

Partners in Recovery Initiative in Gippsland
(funded by Gippsland Medicare Local)


Sutton, K., Isaacs, A. N., Dalziel, K., & Maybery, D. (2017). Roles and competencies of the Support Facilitator in Australia's recovery-oriented mental health initiative: A qualitative study from Gippsland, Victoria. Australian Health Review, 41(1), 91-97
Isaacs, A. N., Sutton, K., Dalziel, K., & Maybery, D. (2017). Outcomes of a care-coordinated service model for persons with severe and persistent mental illness: A qualitative study. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 63(1), 40-47

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