Research Fellow further recognised for work in mental health

6 October 2015

ANU academic Dr Philip Batterham has been further recognised for his work in developing an online self-help program that aims to help people with mental health problems.

Dr Batterham, a Research Fellow at the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research, has received the highest-ranked Career Development Fellowship in Population Health from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The Fellowship is the second award for Dr Batterham this year. In June he was recognised with the 2015 Commonwealth Health Minister's Award for Health and Medical Research, where he received a medal and $50,000 of research funding.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young AO congratulated Dr Batterham on his latest award and for his pioneering work at ANU.

"Dr Batterham is a great example of an ANU researcher who is making a real difference to the world," Professor Young said.

The NHMRC Fellowship means Dr Batterham will receive funding for four years while he works on a program to help those suffering from multiple mental health problems.

"Traditional treatment only focuses on single mental health problems and it's hard for them to focus on multiple areas such as depression and anxiety disorders as well as substance abuse disorders simultaneously," Dr Batterham said.

"So I'm developing a brief intervention that is tailored to someone's pattern of symptoms and aiming to reduce symptom levels across a range of mental health problems simultaneously.

"There are a number of different research elements that go into the fellowship. I've also received grant funding from another organisation - Australian Rotary Health - to do a pilot study of this new intervention, so that is on-going and will wrap up early next year.

"From there, I'm hoping to develop a larger-scale trial of this concept.

"So it's going to go for a few more years. Hopefully the outcomes will be better ways to treat and prevent mild to moderate mental health problems in the community in a way that's accessible 24/7."