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Shifting paradigms: Conversations on developing a transformative agenda for future mental health research, policy and practice

To mark World Mental Health Day 2019, HASH network members Renata Kokanović and Chris Maylea from the Social Research in Health Program (Social and Global Studies Centre, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University) are hosting three distinguished speakers at RMIT University (City Campus) to engage with some of the most pressing questions surrounding the conduct of mental health research:

Vrinda Edan, Acting CEO of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC)

Professor Katherine Boydell, Head of the AKT (Arts-based Knowledge Translation) Lab at the Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales

Professor Isabela Granic, Chair of the Developmental Psychopathology Department and Director of the Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) Lab, Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Netherlands

Join us for an afternoon of stimulating conversation on approaches to meaningful engagement with experts by experience, to transform the agenda for mental health research, policy and practice.

Date: 10th October 2019

Time: 4:00 – 5.30 pm

Venue: RMIT University (City Campus), Building 8, Level 4, Room 13, 360 Swanston Street, Melbourne

You can register for the event here.

For more information email hash_network@rmit.edu.au

Public lecture: DöBra: Designing a good death in Sweden

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Monday 21 October 2019 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Health Transformation Lab, Level 2, 155 Pelham St, Carlton, VIC 3053

Register for this event here


A partnership with the Health Transformation Lab and School of Art Creative Care:

Professor Carol Tishelman and PhD student Max Kleijberg, from Karolinska Institutet Division of Innovative Care, will discuss a program of end-of-life research within the Swedish context. Carol leads the DöBra (a pun meaning both ‘dying well’ and ‘awesome’ in Swedish) program, which is a cohesive national transdisciplinary research program. The DöBra research program aims to investigate how culture, the environment and conversation can promote constructive change and support better quality of life and death among the general population, in specific subgroups and in interventions directed to staff caring for dying individuals, their friends and families. DöBra uses ideas from new public health and the Ottawa Charter as umbrella theoretical frameworks and participatory action research as an overarching methodological approach, working with a range of projects in different settings to combine stringent research with sustainable change processes. In DöBra, we work in partnership with stakeholders and researchers with a wide variety of backgrounds in health care science, social sciences, humanities and creative practices. Carol will present the background to the program, its individual components, and discuss some of the challenges and possibilities encountered that may be relevant for the Australian context. Max will discuss his application of art and action research in the DöBra research program.

Professor Carol Tishelman is Professor of Innovative Care, at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. This position is a joint position with employment at the Centre for Rural Medicine in the remote north part of the country, as well as with the Stockholm health care services.

Carol grew up in the Bronx, New York, has a background in women’s studies, and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. She has lived in Sweden most of her adult life and has worked at Karolinska Institutet, where she also received her PhD, since the mid-1980s. Carol instituted a research group in Innovative Care Research through an Endowed chair as Professor of Innovative Care funded by Investor AB (October 2014-Sept 2019) , and now co-leads the group, which has now grown to a Division. Carol has conducted research in palliative care for several decades, and leads the national competitively-funded DöBra research program in Sweden, aimed at integrating palliative care, public health and health promotion. She has been on the steering board of major international organizations in her field, i.e. International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, the European Society for Psychosocial Oncology and the European Association for Palliative Care. She is recently become the 2nd registered nurse elected to Academia Europeaea ( equivalent of a European academy of arts and sciences).Carol has received competitive funding from a range of national agencies and has led major national and international projects in a variety of areas related to nursing, (e.g the Swedish component of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership on awareness, attitudes and beliefs about cancer in the population, and Swedish PI for the EU 7th framework financed RN4CAST project, on nurse workforce issues).

Max Kleijberg is a PhD student in Sweden at Karolinska Institutet, at the Division of Innovative Care Research in the DöBra research program. Max is originally from the Netherlands and has a design background with experience in working with innovation and social entrepreneurship projects in transdisciplinary groups. His PhD research is a participatory action research project aiming to support community engagement in end-of-life issues. Max collaborates with various community-organizations to develop Studio DöBra: places where children and elderly people can meet and work together on the theme of death and loss through art projects.

News: Sharing Healthtalk Australia mental health resources

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Healthtalk Australia mental health resources to be included on Head to Health website

Healthtalk Australia is an online resource dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Australians by harnessing the power of stories, rigorous research methods, and the internet to understand and share experiences of:

  • what it’s really like to have a particular health condition or to care for someone with that condition, and
  • what is and isn’t working in our health and social care system.

The only research-based digital repository of health experiences in Australia, Healthtalk Australia’s resources provide support and information to other patients and carers, and information to health professionals and health educators.

HASH network members Renata Kokanović, (Healthtalk Australia Director) and Kate Johnston-Ataata (Healthtalk Australia Co-ordinator) learned recently that four of their mental health digital resources on mental health and supported decision-making, mental health and carers’ experiences, depression, and emotional experiences of early parenthood have been approved for inclusion on Head to Health.

Head to Health is a national digital platform providing links to credible, high quality Australian digital and phone supports, resources and treatment options for mental health, and is working towards establishing a national certification framework for digital mental health services.

Currently Healthtalk Australia is one of only 33 organisations nation-wide listed on the Head to Health platform. Testament to the high quality of Healthtalk Australia’s digital repository of health experiences, Healthtalk Australia’s mental health resources received written support and endorsement from key stakeholder and project partner, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services as part of the application process.





News: HASH Network researchers are part of a new NHMRC CRE

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HASH Network researchers, Renata Kokanović and Kate Johnston-Ataata, are part of a new NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Women’s Health in Reproductive Life

Renata and Kate from the Social Research in Health Program (Social and Global Studies Centre, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University) are set to continue their research collaboration on women’s experiences of reproductive health with the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI), Monash University. Renata is an Associate Investigator and Kate a Research Fellow on the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence on Women’s Health in Reproductive Life (WHIRL) announced on 29 August 2019.

A five-year, $2.499 million research program, CRE-WHIRL is aimed at improving health outcomes and quality of life in key areas of women’s reproductive health – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), infertility and early menopause. The CRE-WHIRL will partner with patients, multidisciplinary practitioners and policy makers to address research and translation priorities under the national women’s health strategy. Renata and Kate’s involvement in CRE – WHIRL builds on their existing collaboration with MCHRI through the Early Menopause: Women’s Experiences and Health Practitioners’ Perspectives NHMRC Partnership Project.



Health Network launch

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The RMIT Health Network was launched on Tuesday 12 March in Storey Hall, RMIT University!

The event began with opening remarks by Health Network co-convenor Professor Renata Kokanović (Social and Global Studies Centre, RMIT University) and Professor Ralph Horne (Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation for the College of Design and Social Context, RMIT University).

Following the formal launch of the Health Network by Distinguished Professor and RMIT University Design and Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platform (ECP) director Larissa Hjorth, we had the pleasure of welcoming an amazing panel of four speakers assembled around the theme: Interdisciplinary mental health research: Why and for whom?

Felicity Callard, Visiting Professor to RMIT University and Director of the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, University of London, presented on interdisciplinary collaborations across the medical humanities and social sciences. Her insightful talk covered the importance and complexities of interdisciplinary collaborations, and the productive research pathways and connections that such work open.

This was followed by Indigo Daya, Human Rights Advisor, Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) and Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, whose presentation outlined the necessity of engaging with people with lived experience of mental health diagnoses in research. Indigo provided some much-needed perspectives on the importance of ethical engagement, co-design and co-production of knowledge on mental health.

Professor Stacy Holman Jones (Monash University) and Associate Professor Anne M. Harris (RMIT University) closed the afternoon with an engaging performative talk on the significance of creative arts-based methods in mental health research. Their presentation offered critical thoughts on how creative arts-based methods of data collection and knowledge translation can benefit people with lived experience of mental health diagnoses, and in turn transform what counts as knowledge on mental health.

The Health Network convenors would like to thank the Social Change ECP for supporting this event and Felicity Callard’s visit, and the Design and Creative Practice ECP for the support in setting up our site.

We are planning a few more events in 2019, stay tuned!

Interested in joining us? Email: network.for.health@rmit.edu.au