Our Research

Our mission is to improve the understanding of, and responses to, mental health issues and mental disorders by undertaking and promoting critical and ethical appraisal of evidence, claims, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs.

Our top 5 most-read papers

  1. Le Noury J, Nardo, JM, Healy D, Jureidini J, Raven M, Tufanaru C, Abi-Jaoude E. Restoring Study 329: efficacy and harms of paroxetine and imipramine in treatment of major depression in adolescence. BMJ 2015;351:4320. (Altmetrics 1,347).
  2. Jureidini, J. Antidepressants fail, but no cause for therapeutic gloom. The Lancet. 2016. (Altmetric 1,317).
  3. Jureidini, J., Amsterdam, J., McHenry, L. B. The citalopram CIT-MD-18 pediatric depression trial: Deconstruction of medical ghostwriting, data mischaracterisation and academic malfeasance. International Journal Risk and Safety in Medicine. 28 (2016) 33-24. (Altmetric 127). Plus : Getting it published.
  4. Whitely M, Raven M, Jureidini J. Antidepressant prescribing and suicide/self-harm in young Australians: Regulatory warnings, contradictory advice, and long- term trends. Frontiers in Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 05 June 2020 https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00478
  5. Whitely, M., Raven, M., Timimi, S., Jureidini, J., Phillimore, J., Leo, J., Moncrieff, J. & Landman, P. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder late birthdate effect common in both high and low prescribing international jurisdictions: systematic review. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2019, 60 (4), 380– 391.https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12991


Current projects

A Restoring Invisible and Abandoned Trials (RIAT) reanalysis of the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS)

Increasing numbers of children and adolescents are being prescribed antidepressants, despite uncertainty about the benefits and harms. Most antidepressants remain contraindicated for use in juveniles because they significantly increase the risk of self-harm and suicidal behaviour. Despite this, dispensing rates have increased in many countries, with trends led largely by guidelines from the United States that have asserted the safety and effectiveness of fluoxetine for adolescents.

Funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) was an influential trial of fluoxetine and counselling.The study recruited 12-17 year old adolescents with a primary diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD) and randomised them to fluoxetine, psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioural therapy; CBT), combined fluoxetine and CBT, or placebo-based intervention.The TADS team reported that fluoxetine was effective and safe for use in adolescents and that participants who received combined therapy demonstrated the best outcomes. While TADS' design, methodology and reporting has been strongly criticized, its findings still inform the basis of many international treatment guidelines as it has garnered over 48 publications and 1000 citations.

The RIAT initiative provides an important mechanism for increasing accountability in clinical trials. RIAT’s systematic methodology aims to address selective and misleading outcome reporting in clinical trials through rigorous reanalysis of trial data. We will reanalyse the TADS dataset using RIAT methodology to report on key effectiveness and safety outcomes as specified by the original TADS protocol, alongside additional safety outcomes.

The language of mental health

Understanding and addressing the social determinants of health (SDH) is widely accepted as critical to sustainably improving health outcomes for people in the Northern Adelaide region, South Australia’s most socially-disadvantaged, high-risk population. Current national pregnancy care guidelines highlight the importance of SDH screening during pregnancy, yet clinicians meeting with pregnant women or infants may not understand how to adequately assess, or know how best to respond to family and social circumstances (e.g., family violence, food/housing insecurity, unemployment). This project aims to enhance psychosocial care provided during the perinatal period by training clinicians to better manage SDH. Our research team has unique skills in developing such training packages informed by psychiatric, linguistic and pedagogic experience and expertise. Our overarching goal is to improve the long-term health trajectories for both children and parents through reducing adverse experiences for parent and infant during the perinatal period. 

PhD project: Patterns, predictors and outcomes of prescribed psychotropic drug use in Australian children and adolescents (Julie Klau)

Psychotropic drugs are increasingly being prescribed to Australian children and adolescents, both for mental health conditions (i.e., approved conditions) and other conditions for which they have not been approved (i.e., off-label prescribing). There are serious risks of harm from unnecessary prescribing of these drugs, especially to paediatric patients. This project aims to examine psychotropic medication prescribing for children and adolescents and the relationship to children's health, using a large Australian primary care database, MedicineInsight.

PhD project: Towards a new paradigm for the diagnosis and treatment of Attention/Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (Sheelah Mills)

This project is a critical narrative review of the epistemology of ADHD as a medical disorder. Epistemology refers to the process of analysing the strategies by which knowledge has developed, but it also addresses whether explanations are superior to alternatives. The aim is to establish how well the medical foundations of ADHD can withstand logical and empirical criticism, and whether current conceptualisations and diagnostic and treatment interventions require reconsideration.

An evaluation of simulation-based teaching of social and emotional health

This project aims to evaluate the Paediatric Mental Health Training Unit's (PMHTUmedical student teaching program.

A systematic review of Headspace

The team is currently undertaking a systematic review of all evaluations of Headspace, the national youth mental health initiative.