Mental disorders are the leading cause of disease burden in people under 25 years living in high income countries. 

The Child and Youth Mental Health Research Group, led by Associate Professor James Scott, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of young Australians and reduce the burden of illness that accompanies mental disorders. 

The research consists of four streams. 

The first and second streams focus on the study of the patterns, causes and effects of mental disorders. This enables identification of factors that influence mental health problems in childhood and adolescence. 

Addressing these influences, such as bullying in schools (traditional and cyber bullying) and maltreatment in childhood, is arguably the most effective way to prevent the onset of mental disorders.

The third area is in neuroimmunology. Research in this area studies the interplay between the nervous system and the immune system. It has become increasingly apparent that some cases of psychosis and depression arise from inflammation in the central nervous system.  

The fourth stream are the Cadence Trials, a program of clinical trials evaluating safe and innovative treatments for young people with psychosis. 

In the past five years, the child and youth mental health research program has been awarded more than $5m in competitive grant funding resulting in more than one hundred publications. The substantial body of clinical and public health research has made an important impact on the lives of young people experiencing mental health problems.


The child and youth mental health team collaborates with acclaimed local and international researchers across a range of research areas. We are proud to have collaborated with esteemed institutes that also aim to improve the health and wellbeing of young people such as the Telethon Kids Institute, Murdoch Children’s Institute, the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP), and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Community engagement

The Child and Youth Mental Health Research Group regularly engages with support and consumer groups, giving talks and updates on research. In 2018 we have had strong engagement with the media including psychotic experiences with the use of ADHD medications, as well as adolescent bullying focusing on why it occurs and what parents can do about it.