Mental health, tobacco control and substance use

Mental health disorders, and the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are major causes of preventable illness and death in Australia and account for a substantial proportion of the global disease burden. In addition, there is a complex inter-relationship between substance use and mental health.

The School of Public Health takes a multi-faceted approach to these issues to inform harm reduction strategies, treatment options and public policy.

Our researchers develop, implement and evaluate programs and interventions addressing the consequences of mental illness, including suicide prevention amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and trauma-associated mental health.

Our affiliate centre, the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) is a global leader in epidemiology, undertaking country mental health surveys and producing the mental disorder estimates for the Global Burden of Disease Study, as well as services research including the development of the National Mental Health Service Planning Framework to improve mental health planning at a state and national level.


The main focus of research is to reduce population harms caused by tobacco and other nicotine products. Our research spans clinical trials of novel smoking cessation and harm reduction interventions, policy analyses and program evaluation, descriptive studies and qualitative research. This incorporates strategies aimed at the whole population as well as targeted interventions for priority populations. The vision of our NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Achieving the Tobacco Endgame is to achieve a smoke-free Australia by uniting global leaders in tobacco control to develop the most rigorous tobacco endgame strategy to date, and to focus on translating this strategy into policy to maximise health gains in Australia and globally.


Our researchers focus on the health and wellbeing of people with alcohol and drug use problems, from a public health perspective. We aim to understand the factors associated with the use of illicit substances, including anti-social behaviour, violence, child maltreatment, and to measure the burden of disease from substance use. Our research supports evidence-informed supply, demand and harm reduction strategies, including interventions to prevent and treat drug related harms.