Kids Mental Health Research

Kids Mental Health Research (KMHR) has been established to develop an integrated research program focused on clinically relevant aetiological and interventional research in the Sydney Children Hospital Network (SCHN). The overall objective of KRMH is to use research to contribute to the improvement of health outcomes for children and young people with mental illness. The KRMH is committed to producing high-quality scientific research that will inform future policy and service development initiatives locally and nationally, as well as contributing to the international evidence base.

Our mission 

The mission of Kids Mental Health Research is to provide the best available mental health care for children and adolescents in NSW and beyond, the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network aims to embed research in all mental health service activities to enable treatment discovery whilst delivering knowledge translation.

Our objectives

  • Development and maintenance of the research culture and capacity in mental health services in SCHN.
  • Directly undertaking and or leading research projects.
  • Working collaboratively with SCHN Kids Research ethics, governance, medical records, communications, innovation.
  • Supporting clinicians and other researchers across in developing and completing mental health clinical research projects.
  • Supporting access to research training for clinical staff through external partners.
  • Targeted support for clinicians to apply funding and make in higher degree research activities.

Our research strengths

  • Integration in clinical settings
  • Clinician involvement
  • Translation to practice
  • Mentoring and support for clinicians
  • Engagement with consumers and community
  • Focus on voices of children and young people through co-design and participatory research.
  • Multidisciplinary collaboration with other research groups

Developing mental health program 

The primary purpose of this flagship research program is to develop data analysis methods that  support and enhance the mental health clinical care and outcomes for children and young people (CYP) in New South Wales (NSW).

The program represents a service-analysis-policy partnership between Sydney Children Hospitals Network Mental Health Services (SCHN MHS), InforMH (Systems Information and Analytics Unit, NSW Ministry of Health), and Perinatal, Child and Youth Team (Mental Health Branch [MHB], NSW Health).

The program also aims to contribute research output of national and global significance, regarding children and adolescent mental health.

Key publications 


Dr Iain Perkes

Iain has a significant National and International reputation in the area of child and adolescent mental health including paediatric obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), as evidenced by invited participation in the: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry Editorial Board; MRFF-funded ALIVE National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation; Sydney Partnership in Health, Education, and Enterprise (SPHERE); NSW Health Systems Information and Analytic Branch, and NSW Health Higher Education Branch.

Dr Burcu Ozkul, Post-doctoral research fellow

Dr Ozkul is a Visiting Research Fellow at UNSW and an Assistant Professor at Izmir University of Economics. Between 2006 and 2014, she worked as a nurse in different clinics. She graduated from Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Nursing in 2012. She is a researcher in SoCAT and she completed her master’s degree and PhD degree in Psychiatric Nursing at Dokuz Eylul University. She received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training, and she conducted studies on the epidemiology, related stressors, and prevention of depression, anxiety and suicide in children and adolescents. She has 13 peer-reviewed publications in international journals (>70% in Q1) and her h-index is 6.

PhD Candidates

  • Nicolette Soler, PhD candidate

Nicolette lectures at the University of Newcastle. She moved to Australia in 2008, following graduating in South Africa as an occupational therapist. Nicolette brings 17 years of clinical experience, including working in the Department of Psychological Medicine at CHW. She has experience working with complex cases in child and adolescent mental health, intellectual disability, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Nicolette supported the Mental Health Hubs Team aiding therapists across NSW. Her passion and research relate to investigating the assessment and novel multi-model treatment approach for children with tic disorders. Nicolette has authored journal articles and has been awarded various grants and scholarships. 

  • Sarah Versitano, PhD candidate

Sarah is an ANZACATA registered art therapist and clinical supervisor based at an acute inpatient child and adolescent mental health unit in Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN). She is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University, where she is also a sessional academic for the Master of Art Therapy and Master of Psychotherapy and Counselling programs. Sarah has worked with children and adolescents in variety of clinical settings including schools, hospitals, and the not-for-profit sector.

  • Cybele Dey, PhD candidate

Arrielle Hope, Research Manager


  • Jess Xu
  • Aaron Berger