Mental Health

While aspects of mental health are found in all of the key research areas at the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, this overview provides information on research conducted specifically with people who have a diagnosed mental illness, their families and/or mental health clinicians. Researchers in this group have extensive experience in leading interdisciplinary research teams, conducting health services research using a variety of research methodologies and translating research findings to policy and practice change. They have expansive collaborative networks across the mental health sector to ensure research collaborations between academics and clinicians provide improved health care outcomes for consumers and their families.

Current research encompasses:

Improving physical health outcomes of people who have a mental illness

The poor physical health outcomes of people who have a mental illness is well documented in the literature and most of this cohort live with a least one chronic physical illness as well as co-morbid drug and alcohol issues. The research led by Dr Heslop is focused on nurse led models of care that will facilitate improved collaboration between public mental health services and Cockburn Integrated Health to address this disparity in health care outcomes. Within this environment, Dr McGough is investigating whether ASSIST-Linked brief interventions (3-15 minute) are effective in reducing hazardous drug and alcohol use in people who attend the Cockburn Mental Health Clinic with an identified mental disorder and comorbid alcohol/substance use.

Cognition and mental illness | Assessing Cognition in Schizophrenia

There is general agreement that cognitive decline is considered a core aspect of the schizophrenia. This research seeks to determine whether computer tasks that have been developed to assess cognition in people with schizophrenia yield similar results to traditional assessments of cognition in people with schizophrenia and a group of comparison controls. Pilot work is almost completed.

Older adult mental health

Research is focused in several areas: 1) evaluation of drug treatment for behavioural psychological symptoms of dementia and their link to falls; 2) Culturally and linguistically diverse aspects in older adult mental health populations; and 3) consumer focused care.

Research with Middle Eastern adjunct researchers

International links are expanding with mental health clinicians in the Jordan.

Self harm: reducing the impact on consumers, health professionals and service providers

New collaboration between academics from School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Psychology and Speech Pathology and Public Health at Curtin and clinical staff from mental health and the  emergency department at Fiona Stanley Hospital. The research aims to reduce costs associated with self-harm and increase knowledge and skills of staff to assess and intervene with people who present with self-harm.


Current grant funding

  • Heslop, K., Wynaden, D., O’Leary, P., Carrello, C., Chin, F., Velayudhan, A; Murdock, J., Fenner, S., & Delahunty, S. (2017). Pathways to care from public mental health to primary care. Western Australian Primary Health Alliance Innovation and Evidence Grant $136,708.80
  • McGough, S., Heslop, K. Baughman, F. & Wynaden, D. (2016).  Using ASSIST-Linked brief interventions to reduce hazardous alcohol and substance use in people with mental illness in the primary care setting. $10,918.38. SONMP Research Development Scheme.

Grants under review

  • WA Department of Health Research Translation Projects 2017 (Round 11) (investigators from SONMP – Wynaden, Heslop, Ngune and McGough)
  • EOI to Beyondblue Partnership Project Grants (Wynaden)

Recent publications (2016-2017)

Lim, B., Wynaden, D. & Heslop, K. (in press). Recovery Focused Care: How it can be utilised to reduce aggression in the acute mental health setting, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Smith, Z., Leslie, G. & Wynaden, D. (in press). Coping and caring: Support resources integral to perioperative nurses during the process of organ procurement surgery, Journal of Clinical Nursing.

McGough, S., Wynaden, D., & Wright, M. (in press). The experience of providing culturally safe mental health care to Aboriginal patients: A grounded theory study, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Ward, T., Wynaden, D. & Heslop, K. (in press). Who is responsible for metabolic screening for mental health clients taking antipsychotic medications? International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Barr, L., Wynaden, D., & Heslop, K. (in press). Mental health nurses’ attitudes towards the use of PRN psychotropic medications in acute and forensic mental health settings, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Read, S., Toye, C. & Wynaden, D. (in press) Experiences and expectations of living with dementia: A qualitative study. Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research

Alkhawaldeh, A., ALBashtawy, M., Al Omari, O., Wynaden, D., et al (2017). Assessment of Northern Jordanian adolescents’ knowledge and attitudes towards asthma. Nursing Children and Young People 29, 6, 27-31.

Morrison, P., Stomski, N., McAllister, M., Wynaden, D. et al. (2017). A Survey of Antipsychotic Medication Curriculum Content in Australian University Nursing Programs International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 26(1), 56-64.

Happell, B., Bennett, W., Tohotoa, J., Wynaden, D. & Platania-Phung, C. (2017). Promoting recovery orientated mental health nursing practice through consumer participation in mental health nursing education, Journal of Mental Health, 14:1-7.

Wynaden, D., Heslop, B., Heslop, K., et al. (2016). The chasm of care: Where does the mental health nursing responsibility lie for the physical health care of people with severe mental illness? International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 25 (6), 516–525.

Al-Omari, O., Wynaden, D., Al-Omari, H. & Khatatbeh, M. (2016). Coping strategies in Jordanian adolescents with cancer: An interpretive phenomenological analysis study, Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, January 7th, 1-9.

Alhalaiqa, F., Al Omari, O., Wynaden, D., Almusallami,N., ALBashtawy,M., Morisky,D., Batiha,A. & Alkhawaldeh,A. (2016). Adherence to antipsychotic medications measured by an Arabic version of Morisky Scale. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 37(12), 975-982

Elemary, F., Al Omari, O., Wynaden, D. (2016). Adolescences’ perception of their interparental conflict. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice 6 (5), 84-90.

Happell, B., Bennets, W., Tohotoa, J. Platania Phung, C. & Wynaden, D. (2016). Nothing without vision! The views of consumers and mental health nurses about consumer involvement in mental health nursing education, Collegian, 23, 241-248.

Heslop, B., Wynaden, D., Tohotoa, J. & Heslop, K. (2016). Mental health nurses contributions to community mental health care: an Australian study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 25 (2): 1-8.

Heslop, K., & Wynaden, D (2016). The impact of falls on mental health outcomes for older adult mental health patients: An Australian study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 25, 3-11.

Tohotoa, J., Wynaden, D. & Heslop, K. (2016). Development of a falls risk assessment and management tool for older adult mental health units, Annals of Nursing and Practice, 3(1), 1039.

Wynaden, D. & Heslop, K. (2016). (Editorial) Providing leadership on a hidden issue: Where are the mental health nurses? International Journal of Mental Health Nursing 25, 99-101.

Wynaden, D., Heslop, K. & Tohotoa, J et al. (2016). Recognising falls’ risk in older adult mental health patients: How is it different? Collegian 23(1) 97-102.


PhD students

  • Mr Johnathan Chee (Wynaden & Heslop)
  • Mr Eric Lim (Wynaden & Heslop)
  • Ms Lesley Barr (Wynaden & Heslop)
  • Ms Deborah Nelson (Wynaden and Gray)
  • Ms Helen Goodwin (Duggan & Wynaden
  • Ms Anita Moyes (Wynaden & McGough)
  • Ms Sheridan Read (Toye & Wynaden)
  • Ms Omobola Adebayo (Heslop & Brijnath)

Masters by coursework students – 2017


  • Michelle Palmer – Mental Health  (Karen Heslop)
  • Lee Sharon Chin Yen (Sharon Li Zhenyuan) – Enhanced Recovery After Surgery ERAS) on patients undergoing colorectal surgeries – Retrospective (Irene Ngune)
  • Wong Mei Wah – Acute care nurses’ knowledge and perception on dementia care – Survey (Shirley McGough)
  • Harris Vivienne – Breaches of the ‘Four Hour Rule’ in the Emergency Department; can changes to the scope of practice of Mental Health Clinical Nurse Consultants eradicate this problem? (Dianne Wynaden)


Research partner organisations

  • School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Curtin University
  • School of Public Health, Curtin University
  • Fiona Stanley Hospital including Fremantle Mental Health Service
  • State Forensic Mental Health Service
  • Canberra University/ ACT Department of Health
  • Hamid Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar
  • Central Queensland University
  • Jerash University, Jordan
  • Murdoch University
  • University of Western Australia
  • National Ageing Research Institute Ltd, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria
  • Latrobe University, Victoria