The Hunter Institute of Mental Health commenced operations in 1992 in response to a need to provide high quality, evidence-based professional development training for those within and without the health sector who provided services to people affected by mental illness.
The founding directors were Professor Vaughan Carr and Professor Trevor Waring. Initially, the focus of the Institute was to plan and organise a calendar of continuing professional development training for those working in the mental health sector, the health sector, and those in the community who provide services to those of us who experience mental illness. This aspect of the Institute’s work focused on improving the treatment and support provided to people with mental illness and this remains a goal, although the provision of short courses is no longer a strategy used by Institute.
The current director, Trevor Hazell, joined the Institute in 1997 to lead a project funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and relating to the prevention of youth suicide. This initial contract has led to the development of the Institute’s current focus, and we now have additional goals, namely the promotion of good mental health for all, the prevention of mental illness, and the prevention of suicide.
Over 20 years, the Hunter Institute of Mental Health has developed a national and international reputation for its work in mental health promotion and prevention of mental illness and suicide.