$7 million gift to drive Mindgardens mood disorders research

May 16, 2023

James Packer Chair in Mood Disorders to transform patient support

Prominent businessman and investor, James Packer, has, jointly with The Packer Family Foundation, made a $7 million gift that will substantially drive mental health research with the establishment of the James Packer Chair in Mood Disorders.

The donation will support a Professorial Chair to lead a new unit at UNSW and the Mindgardens Neuroscience Network that will conduct rigorous research in mental health, with a particular focus on mood disorders such as bipolar disease. The gift will also fund a team of researchers to support the Chair.

The Executive Director of Mindgardens, Professor Jackie Curtis, said, “This exceptionally generous support will be a game-changer for people who live with mood disorders, allowing us to focus strategically on those areas that hold the greatest promise for improving outcomes. Mindgardens includes people with lived experience in all its work, and the announcement of this Chair gives us a great opportunity to co-design, with our Member organisations and mental health consumers, research programs that respond directly to people’s needs and priorities.”

UNSW is an inaugural Member of the Mindgardens Neuroscience Network, based at the Randwick Health & Innovation Precinct, that also includes NeuRA, the Black Dog Institute and South Eastern Sydney Local Health District.

UNSW Medicine & Health Dean, Professor Vlado Perkovic, said the gift will transform mental health research and accelerate initiatives that will save lives in Australia and across the globe. “This exceptional gift will enable UNSW and its partners in the Mindgardens Network to dramatically accelerate mental health research in mood disorders, conditions that impact millions of people in Australia and around the world,” Professor Perkovic said. “This new Chair will lead the way in transforming the understanding, prevention, treatment and cure of these important disorders and offers hope to affected individuals and their families.”

Mr Packer said ”It is no secret that I have struggled with mental health problems in the past. I am a passionate advocate of finding ways to improve mental health outcomes and I am hopeful that my contribution towards this research will generate positive outcomes in this field and in so doing significantly improve the lives of people battling mental health issues both in Australia and around the world”.

Contact: Julie Robotham: j.robotham@mindgardens.org.au or 02 9348 0862