Research Stream: Forensic Mental Health

The Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research Forensic Mental Health Group's research leads to significant benefits for clinical practice. Led by Associate Professor Ed Heffernan, the Group's research informs service design and delivery and, ultimately, improves the experience of forensic consumers and other stakeholders. The Group prioritises the sharing of research findings with stakeholders and the wider community through publications, seminars and presentations.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among incarcerated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Women: Improving the understanding of prevalence and treatment.

Partners in prevention: Understanding and enhancing first responses to suicide crisis situation.

  • Involuntary mental health treatment orders in Australia: A national comparison
  • Specialised police negotiation of crisis situations in Queensland - a data linkage project involving Queensland Health and Queensland Police Service
  • Police Communications Centre Mental Health Liaison Service - enhancing responses by police and mental health services to persons with mental illness in the community
  • Fitness for Trial and Fitness for Interview - a retrospective review of individuals found to be of unsound mind in Queensland
  • The use of interactive technology in custodial settings for the delivery of social and emotional well-being programs
  • Mental Health Court Liaison Services: A national benchmarking project
  • Pathways of Care: A description of the outcomes of the individuals who are assessed by the Queensland Court Liasison Service
  • Indigenous Mental Health Intervention Program: Outcomes of a specialist in-reach program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody

Improving outcomes for people with acute mental illness in the emergency department: A data linkage study


Changing Direction: Mental Health Needs of Justice-Involved Young People in Australia

The research underpinning this report involved QCMHR Forensic Mental Health Group members Carla Meurk, Megan Steele, Jacklyn Schess, and Ed Heffernan. The report’s authors found that justice involved young Queenslanders and Western Australians experienced higher levels of psychological distress and suicidality than their counterparts in the community. There were consistent associations between experiences of abuse, head injury, psychological distress, and mental disorders. The findings highlight the importance of delivering trauma-informed care to young people who are justice involved, or who are at risk of justice system involvement, and the need for services and interventions that aim to prevent or address the abuse that they may experience.

Partners in Prevention: Understanding and Enhancing First Responses to Suicide Crisis Situations

Individuals who experience a suicide crisis or self-harm often come into contact with police or paramedics. Those who have experienced a suicide crisis report deficiencies with the existing system, and police and paramedics report that responding to these events is one of the most challenging aspects of their role. However, little is known about the nature, extent, precipitating factors, pathways and outcomes of a suicide related call-out, and what responses will most effectively and compassionately meet the needs of those in crisis. Partners in Prevention: Understanding and Enhancing First Responses to Suicide Crisis Situations, funded by the Queensland Health Suicide Prevention Health Taskforce, was established in 2017 to address these knowledge gaps and inform systems enhancements. The outcomes of this work include the following five reports.