QUT mental health and neuroscience researchers will provide insight and advice on how to build resilience at a free online lecture and live Q&A this Saturday (October 10), marking World Mental Health Day.
The Mental resilience in tough times QUT Real Health Public Lecture, hosted by the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, will be facilitated by QUT clinical psychology researcher Professor David Kavanagh, who is also chair of the Queensland Mental Health Commission Advisory Council.
QUT speaker and panellist Associate Professor Divya Mehta said the COVID-19 pandemic had thrown the spotlight on mental health. A molecular geneticist and biostatistician, her particular interest is in understanding how our genes, and environmental factors such as sleep, exercise and diet, impact on stress and our response to trauma.
“It has been a difficult and unique year and what we have seen is that different aspects, such as the pandemic lockdowns, people’s inability to travel and have contact with loved ones, and business and job losses, have affected people in very different ways,” she said.
“This pandemic is a global event, not just confined to a country or a region, and we know that depression and anxiety levels have skyrocketed.
“It’s brought into sharp focus that dealing with mental health is a multi-layered issue that has to be tackled at both the individual and society level.
“We know from research that positive environmental factors, such as sleep and diet and exercise, can change the activity of our genes and play a role in helping us to cope with stress and trauma.
“Our panellists will also be discussing other coping mechanisms that we can look at to help us deal with issues, such as social support, connectedness through informal and informal groups and technology, meditation and brain training.”
QUT speakers sharing their expertise and insights are:
- Professor Selena Bartlett, a translational neuroscientist, who will discuss how the brain can be trained to manage stress, create new behaviour and empower choices.
- Associate Professor Esben Strodl, from the Faculty of Health School of Psychology and Counselling, who will share his expertise in health psychology and psychotherapy to discuss how spirituality can impact positively on mental health.
- Professor Ian Shochet, also from the School of Psychology and Counselling, an expert in resilience research and developing programs that promote connectedness and a sense of belonging.
The QUT researchers will be joined by Dr Sarah Hampton, from the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation, a clinical psychologist with an interest in trauma recovery.
Sharing her personal story of overcoming adversity is swimmer Monique Murphy. In 2014 while a university student in Melbourne, she fell from a fifth-floor balcony and her extensive injuries resulted in her right leg being amputated below the knee. Monique resumed competitive swimming and in 2016 claimed silver at the Rio Paralympic Games in the S10 400 m freestyle.
Now living in Queensland and training for the Tokyo Paralympics, rescheduled for next year due to COVID-19, Monique has also shared her journey dealing with painful endometriosis.
The free online Mental resilience in tough times event starts at 10am on Saturday (October 10). Register here.