The Mindgardens Neuroscience Network is transforming care and support for people who experience mental health, drug and alcohol or neurological disorders

Community Hubs

Mindgardens Neuroscience Network was established to improve the lives of people who experience mental health, drug and alcohol and neurological disorders.

Mindgardens brings together people with lived experience, clinicians, researchers, health service managers and students in a dynamic community focused on better outcomes through original discoveries, new models of care and system change.

Focused on real-world challenges, Mindgardens builds on the specialist knowledge and expertise of its Member organisations, integrating research, patient health care and education. This unique approach ensures new insights can rapidly be introduced into practice, transforming the understanding, prevention, treatment and cure of these disorders.

Mindgardens brings together the strengths of four founding Member organisations.

They form a unique and highly concentrated hub of expertise, centred on the south eastern Sydney region but with the capacity to serve the whole NSW community and influence practice across Australia and internationally.

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Strategic Goals 2021 – 2024


Drive better outcomes through research and innovation translation

To be recognised as a leader in accelerating translation of evidence from all forms of research, implementation science and innovation into improved patient and community outcomes for identified priority areas in mental health, drug and alcohol and neurological disorders.

Maximise the impact of collaboration, co-design and partnerships

To drive and optimise effective collaboration with Members, ensure the development of patient-centred co-designed healthcare services and create best value from partnerships in order to deliver best health and wellbeing outcomes for people living with mental health, drug and alcohol and neurological disorders.

Build a learning healthcare ecosystem

To provide the highest quality training, education, awareness building and support systems for clinicians, researchers, health managers, peer workforce and community for developing collective knowledge, skills and capabilities in mental health, drug and alcohol and neurological disorders.

The Challenge

In our health-care system, mental health, drug and alcohol and neurological disorders are usually identified and treated in isolation from each other, which does not reflect the reality for many people of complex, overlapping health conditions. As well, the layers of the service system, including general practice, community care and hospital systems, are often disconnected, leaving vulnerable people to fall through the cracks.

Opportunities to prevent issues arising or to intervene early are often lost because of this poor coordination. The result: acute crises which cause accelerated decline in patients’ health and increased hospital admissions – all potentially preventable.

This contrasts with health services for other disease groups. The Comprehensive Cancer Centre movement, for example, has seen the integration of surgery, medication and other physical treatments with psychosocial support, care coordination and a strong focus on research trials which immediately inform clinical practice.

Analysis commissioned by Mindgardens, A Review of the burden of disease for neurological, mental health and substance disorders in Australia, estimates the cost of brain disorders at more than $74 billion a year, and reveals their impact on the economy is growing faster than heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease combined.

The Mindgardens Neuroscience Network spanning clinical, research, service design and system innovations offers an opportunity to develop an integrated approach to disorders of the brain and mind, with the potential to transform treatment approaches and make a real difference in people’s lives.

Mindgardens Governance and Backbone Services

Phase 1

Mindgardens is an ambitious concept that will be fulfilled incrementally over several years.

Its first stage, made possible by a $7 million grant from the Commonwealth Government alongside philanthropic support and State Government investment, set in place some foundational projects for completion from 2019 to 2022.

These essential blocks, on which future investments can build, include:

  • new models of care in specialist clinics and the community
  • research projects and programs
  • training and education initiatives, and
  • state-of-the-art data systems and technology to support collaboration.

They bring Mindgardens Members into close working collaborations, setting the scene for a future in which the expertise of the individual organisations can combine to transform mental health, drug and alcohol and neurology services.

This work, which will directly improve the health of thousands of people in the South Eastern Sydney region, will also create a world-first template for sharing patients’ care between general practice, community clinics, and specialist hospital centres.

15 March 2022 The Executive Director of Mindgardens Neuroscience Network, A/Prof Jackie Curtis, is included…

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