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UC launches VIDEA lab to help on mental health services

Danielle Meddemmen

14 October 2022: Researchers at the University of Canberra have developed a series of advanced tools, helping to better inform decision-makers and support better planning in Australia’s mental health system.

“The mental health system in Australia is fragmented, difficult to navigate and faces a major crisis,” project lead Luis Salvador-Carulla said.

“The demand for services has been accentuated by COVID-19 and poses major challenges on policy planners and decision makers on where to best allocate resources, new services and new staff.”

Launched in an official event today – on World Mental Health Day – the Mental Health Policy Unit (MHPU) and the VIDEA Lab combine unique expertise to overcome these problems, using visual and decision analytics, to map real data and improve mental health, disability and social care in the community.

Run by the new Mental Health Policy Unit (MHPU) at the University of Canberra, and made up of 23 multi-disciplinary researchers, their tools are currently being used in 35 countries across the world, for effective mental health planning.

ACT Minister for Mental Health Ms Emma Davidson MLA attended the launch event, in support of the VIDEA Lab and the Mental Health Policy Unit.

“We know there are service gaps in mental health, and young people who slip through these gaps and become the adults who are in need of acute mental health care,” she said.

“The more we can learn about who’s impacted and what services are having a positive effect, the better our chances are of making transformational, generational change.”

The provision of services has been mapped across 30 per cent of the nation, and has worked with major mental health providers across the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.

The work of the MHPU and the Health Research Institute is transforming Canberra as a major innovation hub of mental health policy and planning.