Head of the Policy and Epidemiology Research Group
Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research
+61 7 3871 1037
Professor Harvey Whiteford’s research interests are in how to measure the burden of mental and substance use disorders in the population, and how to improve the health system to efficiently and equitably reduce that burden.
He has held senior clinical and consultant positions including Director of Mental Health in the Queensland and Federal governments in Australia, and has worked on major mental health reforms with national governments in Europe, Africa and Asia, and with the World Health Organisation. He worked for ten years on the design and implementation of Australia’s Mental Health Strategy and was Chairman of the Working Group which oversaw the implementation this initiative. In 1999 he was appointed as the first mental health specialist for the World Bank in Washington, DC. This saw him develop the Bank’s capacity to respond to the rising global burden of mental, neurological and substance use disorders. In 2013 Professor Whiteford was appointed as the Chairperson of the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council. He is also the Professor of Psychiatry and Population Mental Health at The University of Queensland’s School of Public Health and Adjunct Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington, USA.
Professor Whiteford leads the Policy and Epidemiology Group at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, the team responsible for mental and substance use disorders in the Global Burden of Disease Study.
Doctor of Philosophy, Australian National University
Fellow, Australian Faculty of Public Health Medicine
Fellow, Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
D. Univ, Queensland University of Technology
Master of Public Health, The University of Queensland
MBBS, The University of Queensland
Ciobanu, L. G., Ferrari, A. J., Erskine, H. E., Santomauro, D. F., Charlson, F. J., Leung, J., … & Baune, B. T. (2018). The prevalence and burden of mental and substance use disorders in Australia: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 0004867417751641.
McGrath, J. J., Mortensen, P. B., & Whiteford, H. A. (2018). Pragmatic Psychiatric Epidemiology—If You Can’t Count It, It Won’t Count. JAMA psychiatry.
Harris MG, Pirkis J, Burgess PM, Olesen S, Thomson P, Scheurer R and Whiteford HA. Relationship between mental health treatment need and uptake of a primary mental health care initiative in Australia: an ecological study. Health Services Research, (under review)
Diminic, S., Carstensen, G., Harris, M. G., Reavley, N., Pirkis, J., Meurk, C., … & Whiteford, H. A. (2015). Intersectoral policy for severe and persistent mental illness: review of approaches in a sample of high-income countries. Global Mental Health, 2.
Fraser, S. J., Chapman, J. J., Brown, W. J., Whiteford, H. A., & Burton, N. W. (2015). Physical activity attitudes and preferences among inpatient adults with mental illness. International journal of mental health nursing, 24(5), 413-420.
Charlson F, Diminic S and Whiteford HA. The rising tide of mental disorders in the Pacific region: forecasts of disease burden and service requirements from 2010 to 2050. Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, 2015, 2 (2): 280-292, DOI: 10.1002/app5.93
Waller M, Charlson FJ, Ireland REE, Whiteford HA and Dobson AJ. Time-course of PTSD symptoms in the Australian Defence Force: a retrospective cohort study. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, online 15 June 2015, doi:10.1017/S2045796015000517.
Meurk C, Whiteford HA, Head B, Hall WD and Carah N. Media and evidence-informed policy development: the case of mental health in Australia. Contemporary Social Science [Special Issue on evidence-based policy], 2015, pp. 1-11 | DOI: 10.1080/21582041.2015.1053970
Moore SE, Scott JG, Ferrari AJ, Mills R, Dunner MP, Erskine HE, Devries KM, Degenhardt LD, Vos T, Whiteford HA and Norman RE. Burden attributable to child maltreatment in Australia. Child Abuse and Neglect, in press
GBD 2013 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and YLDs for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries for 188 countries, 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet, Published Online, June 8, 2015, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/
Harris MG, Diminic S, Reavley N, Baxter A, Pirkis J and Whiteford HA. Males’ mental health disadvantage: An estimation of gender-specific changes in service utilisation for mental and substance use disorders in Australia, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2015, doi: 10.1177/000486741557743
Liu X, Vitetta L, Kostner KM, Crompton D, Williams GM, Brown WJ, Lopez A, Xue CCL, Oei TP, Byrne G, Martin J and Whiteford HA. The Effects of Tai Chi in Centrally Obese Adults with Depression Symptoms. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, doi:10.1155/2015/879712
Whiteford HA, Ferrari AJ, Degenhardt L, Feign V, Vos T. The Global burden of Neuropsychiatric disorders in 2010: An Analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. PloS One. 2015, 10(2): e0116820. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116820.
Harris MG, Hobbs MJ, Burgess PM, Pirkis JE, Diminic S, Siskind DJ, Andrews G and Whiteford HA. Frequency and quality of mental health treatment for affective and anxiety disorders among Australian adults. Medical Journal of Australia, 2015; 202 (4): 185-189. doi:10.5694/mja14.00297
Sara G, Large MM, Matheson SL, Burgess PM, Malhi G, Whiteford HA and Hall W. Stimulant use disorders in people with psychosis: a meta-analysis of rate and factors affecting variation. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2015, DOI: 10.1177/0004867414561526
Vecchio N, Mihala G, Sheridan J, Hilton MF, Whiteford HA and Scuffham PA. A link between labor participation, mental health and class of medication for mental well-being. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, in press (accepted 11 Nov 2014).
Erskine HE, Moffitt TE, Copeland WE, Costello EJ, Ferrari AJ, Patton G, Degenhardt L, Vos T, Whiteford H A and Scott JG. (2014). A heavy burden on young minds: The global burden of mental and substance use disorders in children and youth. Psychological Medicine, 45(7), 1551-1563. doi: 10.1017/S0033291714002888. EPub: 23 Dec 2014.
Charlson FJ, Baxter AJ, Dua T, Degenhardt L, Whiteford HA, Vos T. Excess mortality from mental, neurological and substance use disorders in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, online December 2014; DOI: 10.1017/S2045796014000687
GBD 2013 Mortality and Causes of Death Collaborators. Global, regional, and national age–sex specific all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 240 causes of death, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet, published online 17 December 2014; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61682-2; in print, 2015; 385: 117–71.
Lara E, Garin N, Ferrari AJ, Tyrovolas S, Olaya B, Sànchez-Riera L, Whiteford HA and Haro JM. The Spanish Burden of Disease 2010: Neurological, mental and substance use disorders. Rev Psiquiatr Salud Ment (Barc.). 2014. doi.org/10.1016/j.rpsm.2014.09.001
Whiteford HA. Does our advocacy need a crisis to be effective? Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2014, 48 (9): 871- 872, 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0004867414547841
Lee YY, Meurk CS, Harris MG, Diminic S, Scheurer RW and Whiteford HA. Developing a Service Platform Definition to Promote Evidence-Based Planning and Funding of the Mental Health Service System Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 12261-12282; doi:10.3390/ijerph111212261
Charlson FJ, Diminic S, Lund C, Vos T, Degenhardt L and Whiteford HA. Mental and substance use disorders in Sub-Saharan Africa: Predictions of epidemiological changes and mental health workforce requirements for the next 40 years. PLoS One. 9(10), 2014, e110208, doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0110208
Baxter AJ, Vos T, Scott KM, Norman RE, Flaxman AD, Blore J and Whiteford HA. The regional distribution of anxiety disorders for the Global Burden of Disease Study, 2010, International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, published online: 22 July 2014; DOI: 10.1002/mpr.1444
Whiteford HA, McKeon G, Harris M, Diminic S, Siskind D and Scheurer, R. W. System-level intersectoral linkages between the mental health and non-clinical support sectors: a qualitative systematic review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. published online 7 July 2014, DOI: 10.1177/0004867414541683
Siskind D, Harris M, Diminic S, Carstensen G, Robinson G and Whiteford HA. Predictors of mental health-related acute service utilisation and treatment costs in the twelve months following an acute psychiatric admission. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, online 16 July 2014, DOI: 10.1177/0004867414543566
Sara G, Burgess PM, Malhi G, Whiteford HA and Hall W. Stimulant and other substance use disorders in schizophrenia: prevalence, correlates and impacts in a population sample, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, online 12 May 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0004867414533838
Sara G, Burgess PM, Malhi G, Whiteford HA and Hall W. The Impact of Cannabis and Stimulant Disorders on Diagnostic Stability in Psychosis. J Clin Psychiatry 2014;75(4):349-356
Harris MG, Diminic S, Burgess PM, Carstensen G, Stewart G, Pirkis JE and Whiteford HA. Understanding mental health service demand among Australians aged 16 to 64 years with a possible need for treatment. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, published online 8 May 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0004867414531459
Baxter AJ, Vos T, Scott KM, Ferrari AJ and Whiteford HA. The global burden of anxiety disorders in 2010. Psychological Medicine. doi:10.1017/S0033291713003243. EPub: 22 Jan 2014.
Sara G, Burgess P, Malhi G, Whiteford H, Hall, W. Cannabis and stimulant disorders and readmissions 2 years after first episode psychosis. British Journal of Psychiatry 2014; 204: 448-453.
Baxter AJ, Ferrari AJ, Erskine HE, Charlson FJ, Degenhardt L and Whiteford HA. The global burden of mental disorders: changes in burden estimates between GBD 1990 and GBD 2010. Epidemiology and Psychiatry Science. Volume 23 (3), September 2014, pp 239-249. DOI: 10.1017/S2045796014000237. Published online: 23 April 2014.
Whiteford HA, Degenhardt L, Murray CJL, Vos T and Lopez AD. Improving the Mental Health and Substance Use Estimates in the Global Burden of Disease Study: strengthening the evidence base for public policy. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2014, 1–6, doi: 10.1093/ije/dyu052
Baxter AJ, Scott K, Ferrari AJ, Norman RE, Vos T and Whiteford HA. Challenging the myth of an ‘epidemic’ of common mental disorders: trends in the global prevalence of anxiety and depression between 1990 and 2010, Anxiety and Depression, published online: 21 Jan 2014. 31(6): 506-516. DOI: 10.1002/da.22230
Ferrari AJ, Norman RE, Freedman J, Baxter AJ, Pirkis J, Harris ME, Page A, Carnahan E, Degenhardt L, Vos T and Whiteford HA. The burden attributable to mental and substance use disorders as risk factors for suicide: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, PLoS One, April 02, 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091936
Whiteford, H.A., Buckingham, W.J., Harris, M.G., Burgess, P.M., Pirkis, J.E., Barendregt, J.J., and Hall, W.D. Estimating treatment rates for mental disorders in Australia. Australian Health Review, 38 (1): 80 – 85, published 4 February 2014
Degenhardt L, Whiteford HA and Hall W. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) projects: What have we learned about illicit drug use and dependence and their contribution to global burden of disease? Drug and Alcohol Review, 2014, 33: 4-12; doi: 10.1111/dar.12088
Erskine HE, Ferrari AJ, Polanczyk G, Moffitt T, Murray CJM, Vos T, Whiteford HA, Scott J. The global burden of conduct disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in 2010. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2014, 55(4), 328-336. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12186
Degenhardt L, Baxter AJ, Lee, Hall W, Sara G, Johns N, Flaxman A, Whiteford HA, Vos T. The global epidemiology and burden of psychostimulant dependence: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, online 29 January 2014, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.12.025
Charlson FJ, Moran C, Stapelberg NJC, Norman R, Freedman J, Baxter AJ, Vos T, Whiteford HA. The contribution of major depression to the global burden of ischemic heart disease: a systematic review and comparative risk assessment, BMC Medicine, 2013, 11:250 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-250
Saha S, Whiteford HA and McGrath JJ. Modeling the incidence and mortality of psychotic disorders: data from the second Australian national survey of psychosis, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, published online: 22 November 2013. doi: 10.1177/0004867413513341.
Siskind D, Harris M, Kisely S, Siskind V, Brogan J, Pirkis J, Crompton D, Whiteford HA. A Retrospective Quasi-Experimental Study of a Transitional Housing Program for Patients with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness, Community Health Journal, DOI 10.1007/s10597-013-9654-y, published online 23 October 2013
Ferrari AJ, Charlson FJ, Norman RE, Patten SB, Freedman G, Murray CJL, Vos T and Whiteford HA. Burden of depressive disorders by country, sex, age and year: Findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, PLoS Medicine, 2013, 10(11): e1001547. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001547
Degenhardt L, Ferrari AJ, Calabria B, Hall WD, Norman RE, McGrath JJ, Flaxman AD, Engell RE, Freedman GD, Whiteford HA and Vos T. The global epidemiology and contribution of cannabis dependence to the Global Burden of Disease in 2010, PLoS One, 2013, 8(10): e76635. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076635
Erskine HE, Ferrari AJ, Scott JG, Nelson P, Vos T, Whiteford HA. Epidemiological disease modelling of childhood behavioural disorders for the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, published online: 4 October 2013; DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12144
Degenhardt L, Whiteford HA, Ferrari AJ, Baxter AJ, Charlson FJ, Hall W, Freedman G, Burstein R, Johns N, Engels R, Flaxman A, Murray CJ, Vos T. The global burden of disease attributable to illicit drug use: Results from the GBD 2010 study, Lancet, Online Publication, 29 August 2013, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61530-5
Whiteford HA, Degenhardt L, Rehm J, Baxter AJ, Ferrari AJ, Erskine HE, Charlson FJ, Norman R, Flaxman A, Johns N, Burstein R, Murray CJ, Vos T. The global burden of mental and substance use disorders, 2010, Lancet, published online, August 29, 2013, doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(13)61611-6
Ferrari AJ, Charlson FJ, Norman RE, Flaxman AD, Patten SB, Vos T and Whiteford HA. The epidemiological modelling of major depressive disorder: Application for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, PLoS ONE, 2013, 8(7): e69637. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0069637
Scuffham PA, Vecchio N and Whiteford HA. Exploring the Validity of HPQ Based Presenteeism Measures to Estimate Productivity Losses in the Health and Education Sectors. Medical Decision Making, 2013, 34 (1) 127 – 137, doi.10.1177/0272989X13497996
Sara G, Burgess PM, Malhi G, Whiteford HA and Hall W. Differences in associations between cannabis and stimulant disorders in first admission psychosis. Schizophrenia Research, 2013; 147 (2–3) 216-222
Whiteford HA, Harris MG and Diminic S. Mental health service system improvement: translating evidence into policy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2013, 47(8): 703 – 706
Charlson FJ, Ferrari AJ, Flaxman AD and Whiteford HA. The epidemiological modelling of dysthymia: Application for the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study. Journal of Affective Disorders, (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2013.05.060i
Whiteford HA and Baxter AJ. Editorial: The Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. What does it tell us about mental disorders in Latin America? Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 2013; 35: 1–2
Baxter AJ, Patton G, Scott KM, Degenhardt L, Whiteford HA. Global Epidemiology of Mental Disorders: What Are We Missing? PLoS ONE, 2013, 8(6): e65514. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065514
Whiteford HA, Ferrari AJ, Baxter AJ, Charlson FJ and Degenhardt L. How did we arrive at burden of disease estimates for mental and illicit drug use disorders in the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 2013, 26(4): 376-383.
Siskind D, Harris M, Kisely S, Brogan J, Pirkis J, Crompton D, Whiteford HA. A Retrospective Quasi-Experimental Study of a Community Crisis House for Patients with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 47(7): 667-675, 2013. DOI: 10.1177/0004867413484369.
Vecchio N, Scuffham, PA, Hilton MF and Whiteford HA. Differences in wage rates for males and females in the health sector: a consideration of unpaid overtime to decompose the gender wage gap. Human Resources for Health, 2013; 11:9.
Weinberg L, Whiteford HA, Caldas de Almeida J, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Levinson D, O’Neill S, Kessler R and Kovess Masfety V. Translation of the World Mental Health Survey Data to Policies: An Exploratory Study of Stakeholders’ Perceptions of How Epidemiologic Data Can Be Utilized for Policy in the Field of Mental Health. Public Health Reviews, 34(2): 324-344, 2012
Murray CJL, Vos T, Lozano R, et al. Global Burden of Diseases and Injuries for 291 causes, 21 regions, 1990-2010: A systematic analysis. Lancet. 2012; 380:2197-2223
Salomon JA. Vos T, Hogan DR et al. Common values in assessing health outcomes from disease and injury: Global Burden of Disease 2010 disability weights measurement study. Lancet. 2012; 2129-2143
Vos T, Flaxman AD, Naghavi M, et al. The Global Burden of Non-Fatal Health Outcomes for 1,160 Sequelae of 291 Diseases and Injuries 1990-2010: A Systematic Analysis. Lancet. 2012; 380: 2163-2196.
Lim SS, Vos T, Flaxman AD, et al. The Burden of Disease and Injury Attributable to 67 Risk Factors and Risk Factor Clusters in 21 Regions 1990-2010: A systematic analysis. Lancet. 2012; 380:2224-2260
Siskind D, Harris M, Pirkis J and Whiteford HA. A Domains-Based Taxonomy of Supported Accommodation for People with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 48: 875-894, 2013 (first online 2 October 2012, DOI 10.1007/s00127-012-0590-x)
Sara G, Burgess PM, Harris MG, Malhi G, Whiteford HA and Hall W. Stimulant use disorders: characteristics and comorbidity in an Australian population sample. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2012, 6:1173-1181
Ferrari AJ, Saha S, McGrath JJ, Norman R, Baxter AJ, Vos T and Whiteford HA. Health States for Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder within the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Revision. Population Health Metrics, 2012, 10:16, doi:10.1186/1478-7954-10-16
Whiteford HA, Harris MG, McKeon G, Baxter AJ, Pennell C, Barendregt JJ, Wang JL Estimating remission from untreated major depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Psychological Medicine, August 2012, published online,
Baxter AJ, Scott KM, Vos T and Whiteford HA. Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-regression. Psychological Medicine, 43(5): 897-910, 2013. Published online: 10 July 2012, doi: 10.1017/S003329171200147X
Ferrari AJ, Somerville AJ, Baxter AJ, Norman R, Patten SB, Vos T and Whiteford HA. Global variation in the prevalence and incidence of major depressive disorder: A systematic review of the epidemiological literature. Psychological Medicine, Published online: 25 July 2012, doi:10.1017/S0033291712001511
Charlson FJ, Steel Z, Degenhardt L, Chey T, Silove D, Marnane C and Whiteford HA. Predicting the impact of the 2011 conflict in Libya on population mental health: PTSD and depression prevalence and mental health service requirements. PLoS ONE 7(7): e40593. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040593
Harris M, Buckingham B, Pirkis J, Groves A and Whiteford HA. Planning estimates for the provision of core mental health services in Queensland 2007 to 2017. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, published online 16 July 2012; doi: 10.1177/0004867412452942
Siskind D, Harris M, Buckingham B, Pirkis J and Whiteford HA. Planning estimates for the mental health community support sector. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 46(6): 569-580, 2012. doi: 10.1177/0004867412443058
Carr VJ, Whiteford HA, Groves A, McGorry P and Shepherd AM. Policy and service development implications of the second Australian national survey of psychosis Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, published online 4 May 2012, doi: 10.1177/0004867412446488
Leach L, Butterworth P and Whiteford HA. Private health insurance, mental health and service use in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2012, 46:468-475. doi:10.1177/0004867411434713
Phanthunane P, Whiteford HA, Vos T, Bertram M. Economic Burden of Schizophrenia: Empirical Analyses from a Survey in Thailand. Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 2012, 15, 15-22
Siskind D, Harris M, Pirkis J and Whiteford HA. Personalised Support delivered by Support Workers for people with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness: a systematic review of patient outcomes. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences 21: 97–110, 2012. doi:10.1017/S2045796011000734