Orygen’s Dr Sarah Bendall has been awarded the Ronald Philip Griffiths Fellowship from the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences at The University of Melbourne, to build better trauma-informed models of care for young people with early psychosis.
Dr Bendall said the fellowship would support several key research projects aimed at improving the quality and effectiveness of trauma-informed mental health services.
“The key to this process will be the involvement of young people who have experience of trauma and have accessed mental health services,” Dr Bendall said.
“Startlingly high rates of childhood trauma have been found in young people accessing early psychosis services in Australia, with between 65 and 82 per cent reporting sexual, physical and emotional abuse and trauma,” she said.
“Research shows that people who have experienced childhood trauma are 2.5 times more likely to develop a psychotic disorder than those who have not experienced trauma. We also know that childhood trauma leads to a more distressed and disabled experience with psychosis, including more severe hallucinations and delusions.
“The research I will be working on will fill gaps in research that clinicians themselves have repeatedly told us impede their ability to provide evidence-based care,” Dr Bendall said.
“Addressing this gap will ensure that research results will lead to actual change in real-world outcomes for vulnerable young people with early psychosis who have experienced trauma.”