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New centre in substance use, mental disorders in young people

6 November 2018
World-first centre comes to Sydney
The University of Sydney will soon be home to a world-first centre tackling substance use and mental disorders in young people.

Substance use and mental disorders are the leading global causes of burden of disease in young people.

Headed by Professor Maree Teesson AC, the centre for the prevention, early intervention and treatment of co-occurring substance use and mental disorders will have 60 staff and commence operations from 10 December.

With youth mental health and addiction a current area of increasing international focus, the new centre will bring together researchers nationally and internationally across addiction, mental health and youth health.

The centre will be a platform to share skills, synergise data, and harness new technologies to develop and trial innovative prevention and early-intervention programs for substance use and mental disorders.

We are delighted to be joining the University of Sydney
Professor Maree Teesson AC

“We are delighted to be joining the University of Sydney,” said Professor Maree Teesson AC.

“The vision of the University in driving innovative world-class research is outstanding and its dedication to translating that research into real-world change is what attracted us to the University.”

Professor Teesson is currently Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS) and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), based at the University of New South Wales.

“I’m delighted to welcome Maree and her team to the University and look forward to working with her as we work together, along with colleagues in the Brain and Mind Centre and our local health districts, to address this vital issue in our community – the mental well-being of our young people,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison.

“Maree and her team will make a huge contribution to the University’s deep commitment to research excellence and social impact in mental health – indeed, our ambition is to help lead not only in Australia but globally in this complex, challenging area.”

Maree and her team will make a huge contribution to the University’s deep commitment to research excellence and social impact in mental health
Professor Duncan Ivison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Sydney

About the centre

Substance use and mental disorders are the leading global causes of burden of disease in young people. The new centre will work closely with the Brain and Mind Centre and other University of Sydney academics addressing mental health and addiction issues and will provide the key focus on the intersection of these issues in young people.

Professor Teesson’s team will be comprised of strong academic leadership, including Associate Professor Katherine Mills, Associate Professor Tim Slade, Associate Professor Nicola Newton and Associate Professor Catherine Chapman. Their expertise spans the fields of psychiatric epidemiology, post-traumatic stress disorder, adolescent and young adult health, and preventative interventions into adolescent alcohol and drug use.

Key activities of the centre include:

  • leading research to build the evidence base for a thriving and empowered youth for Australia's future
  • contributing to the University's mental health and neurosciences flagship the Brain and Mind Centre, as well as the engagement of the University with local health districts and Sydney Health Partners and Addiction Medicine
  • bringing together globally recognised national and international researchers with a strong track record in basic and translational research and a shared commitment to the prevention, early intervention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders
  • acting as a focal point and link between University of Sydney researchers, policy leaders and clinicians working in mental health and substance use, driving youth mental health through basic research, clinical translational research and policy
  • providing the framework for synergies that will place the University of Sydney as the leader driving the development of policy to direct the national agenda in combating youth mental and substance use disorders.

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