Breakthrough is proud to once again be offering grants to Flinders University’s Orama Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing to invest in groundbreaking research.

Breakthrough’s Executive Director John Mannion said the calibre of applicants this year was outstanding.

“It’s always exciting to see the range of new ideas and projects seeking to be tested in the mental health arena and the team is thrilled to see where the research will take us in the future.”

Mike Nicholls, Professor of Psychology, Dean of Research, College of Education, Psychology & Social Work at Flinders University said: “We have been able to fund a diverse range of projects which are high quality and will have a real impact in the community.”

2022 Research Projects

1. Developing and testing an online version of an effective cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders protocol

Lead Investigator: Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor Tracey Wade; Co-Investigators: Dr Bronwyn Raykos and Dr Ryan Balzan

Priority area: Eating disorders

The primary aim of this study is to transfer an effective face-to-face 10-session cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders (CBT-ED) to an eight-session online platform with guidance. The evaluation will focus on acceptability and effectiveness of the intervention with 100 participants in the hopes it will alleviate long waiting times for eating disorder treatment.


2. It rings true: Neural markers of intuition and conviction in psychosis

Lead Investigator: Dr Oren Griffiths, Co-Investigator: Dr Ryan Balzan

Priority Area: Psychosis

Researchers have identified numerous potential biomarkers in people with schizophrenia, but there is a weak linkage with clinical symptoms. Conversely, clinical researchers have identified cognitive biases that plausibly maintain clinical symptoms, but their methods typically have reduced objectivity. The project bridges these two traditions to examine whether a core process targeted by metacognitive therapy is disrupted in people with schizophrenia.


3. How to mitigate the impact of viewing distressing Instagram content

Lead Investigator: Associate Professor Melanie Takarangi

Priority Area: Youth Mental Health

Although using social media platforms like Instagram can be positive, some experiences — such as exposure to explicit or upsetting content — may also be harmful, especially among adolescents. This project will establish the risk of adolescents’ exposure to distressing content evaluate alternative warnings that may work more effectively.


4. Improving mood and motivation in Parkinson’s Disease

Lead Investigator: Dr Stephanie Won; Co-Investigators: Dr Monica Cations and Associate Professor Tim Windsor; External Partners: The Hospital Research Foundation

Priority Area: Depression

While Parkinson’s Disease is primarily characterised by motor symptoms, approximately 40 per cent of patients also present with depression and apathy. Current treatment options for these symptoms have shown limited efficacy and accessibility. We aim to adapt, co-design and pilot a telehealth Behavioural Activation therapy program.


5. Improving outcomes for older adults with depression. Evaluation of the Metacognitive Training (MCT-Silver) program in an Australian community sample

Lead Investigator: Dr Ryan Balzan

Priority Area: Depression

MCT-Silver is an innovative, easily implemented group intervention for older people with depression. Across eight entertaining and interactive multimedia modules, and with content specifically developed for older adults, MCT-Silver uniquely targets the unhelpful thinking styles that can contribute to the development and maintenance of depression. The proposed project will be one of the first trials worldwide


6. Investigating the relationship between autism and PTSD in young adults

Lead Investigator: Professor Robyn Young; Co-Investigator: Dr Alliyza Lim

Priority Area: Youth Mental Health

There are increasing suggestions that autistic individuals are more likely to perceive stressful events to be traumatic and to develop symptoms of PTSD. This study aims to better understand how autistic young adults experience and respond to stressful life events, and what traits may increase an individual’s vulnerability to developing PTSD symptomology following a stressful event. This will look at the relationship between autism and perceptions of trauma.