Chair of Developmental Mental Health established

The Financial Markets Foundation for Children generously gave $5 million to Believe – The Campaign for the University of Melbourne in 2013 to create the Financial Markets Foundation Chair of Developmental Mental Health.

Child playing in sandManaged by a Board of Directors from Australia’s leading banks and chaired by Glenn Stevens, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Financial Markets Foundation for Children supports projects that promote and improve the health and welfare of Australian children.

The Chair of Developmental Mental Health builds on strong collaboration between the world-leading Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne.

Developmental mental health and the highly vulnerable stages of early childhood development are areas that have long been recognised as key health priorities both locally and globally. Research findings have highlighted a need to improve understanding of the development process of brain and mind in order to develop effective approaches to prevention and treatment.

It is known that the environments into which children are born and grow up become key components of early brain development, which place children on a developmental pathway impacting health and wellness across their lifespan and across generations.

The origins of many mental illnesses – including depression, anxiety and emotional disorders – have their genesis in early childhood, and left unchecked can contribute to ongoing mental illnesses for teenagers and young adults.

The Chair of Developmental Mental Health ensures significant progress can be made in these critical areas.

The Chair has been  integrated under the joint leadership of Professor Ian Everall, Cato Chair of Psychiatry and Professor Paul Monagle, Stevenson Chair of Paediatrics.

“With its diverse program of clinical research and expertise in psychiatry and mental health across the lifespan, the University is well-placed to tackle this critical health challenge,” Professor Everall said.

This gift from the Foundation is enabling the University and its partners to achieve their shared vision of making life-changing discoveries to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children.

“Mental illnesses in childhood can have a major impact on the wellbeing of families, schools, workplaces and communities,” Mr Robertson said.

“Understanding how we can intervene from a medical or therapeutic point of view early on to prevent further development of mental health issues later in life is incredibly positive for families and the community. We are very happy to be supporting this research.”

Since its inception in 1990, the Foundation has raised funds through a number of different annual events, including Work-A-day 4 Kids, the ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation Golf Tournament and the Sailing Regatta.