Our history

In 1975, Alexander Scott Henderson inaugurated the Social Psychiatry Research Unit (SPRU), an elite NHMRC research unit embedded within ANU. The Unit became a WHO Collaborating Centre in Mental Disorders. In 1995 the Unit was renamed the Centre for Mental Health Research, and has continued to thrive since then, primarily by attracting external research funding.

The Centre has led important developments in mental health across several research foci, including digital mental health interventions, stigma and mental health literacy, prevention of mental ill health, lived experience research, and dementia and late-life mental health.

Previous heads of the Centre have included Prof Tony Jorm, Prof Helen Christensen, Prof Kathy Griffiths and Prof Luis Salvador-Carulla. The Centre is located in Building 63, which was originally the Canberra Community Hospital complex (1928). Academics at CMHR continue to work on population-based mental health research that is relevant to policy and practice.

SPRU original building
Image: Canberra Community Hospital complex, built 1928,  home to CMHR. 

Updated:  23 May 2024/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Executive Support Officer