A ground-breaking new facility for mental health research and treatment will be established in Victoria thanks to a gift of tens of millions of dollars from the estate of a philanthropic stockbroker.
The Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health will be based at Monash University’s Clayton Campus, 20km outside of Melbourne.
Funded by Australia’s largest single gift to mental health, the facility will become one of biggest of its type in the country, bringing together clinicians, researchers and community groups to find solutions for conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), substance addiction, dementia, depression, ADHD and schizophrenia.
It is named after David Winston Turner, a Monash economics graduate who died in 2012 and left an endowment fund to support mental health research.
“David made an extraordinary commitment to mental health, especially developing breakthrough research to help improve the lives of people suffering from conditions such as OCD and other compulsive disorders,” said Professor Kim Cornish, who will lead the new institute.
In 2015, Mr Turner’s estate gave the university $5.25m to accelerate its research into OCD and addiction, creating a world-leading program pioneering non-invasive treatments for compulsive disorders.
This year another gift of $2.2m helped the university to open ‘BrainPark – The David W. Turner Research Clinic’, which uses exercise physiology, virtual reality and mindfulness to the treat addiction and other compulsions.
“It’s through David’s vision that Monash can help transform communities across Victoria and Australia,” Professor Cornish said.
The institute announcement coincides with World Mental Health Day on 10 October and the launch of the largest philanthropic campaign in Monash’s 60-year history – ‘Change It. For Good’ – which aims to raise $500 million from 50,000 donors.
It comes at a time when mental health is becoming an increasing issue in Australia, where one in five adults experience depression, anxiety and/or substance abuse disorders every year, while nearly 45 percent of people will experience a mental illness at least once in their life.
The Turner Institute, to be funded over the next five years, will be an extension of the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences.
It will include laboratory-based research in partnership with some of Australia’s top health experts and bodies, and clinical treatment of patients alongside the State’s leading hospitals.