Free Mental Health Disorders Seminar


The number of Australian adults suffering from depression has doubled in the last ten years - a very worrying trend. Fortunately, the Garvan Institute of Medical Research has released results of a new study on neuropeptide Y (NPY) that could lead to new strategies for those who do not respond to current anti-depressant treatments. A free public seminar will be held at the Garvan Institute in Darlinghurst on October 17th to discuss these new discoveries.

A preliminary study of the Depression Research Project, undertaken by the Garvan Institute's Neuroscience Program, has produced the astounding result that anxiety levels reduce by half when NPY is over-expressed in certain regions of the brain.

"This is a very promising discovery and a huge step forward in developing new strategies for the treatment of depression and anxiety-related disorders," says Professor Herbert Herzog, Director of Garvan's Neuroscience Research Program. "The Project will now be moving forward to evaluate the efficiency of stably increased NPY levels in reducing depressive behaviours.

"We strongly encourage those affected by mental health disorders, including families and friends, to attend the seminar to gain a better understanding of potential future treatments and the hope this will bring to sufferers."

As well as revealing more details of its new research, Garvan's free public seminar will provide an insight in to living with depression, anorexia and bipolar disorder. Discussion will include future prospects for sufferers, societal stigmas and personal accounts by guest speakers of living with mental illnesses.

Professor Herzog, who will be presenting the seminar, is also Head of Garvan's Eating Disorder Research Group and has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Innsbruck in Austria. He joined the Garvan Institute in 1991 and was the first to isolate and characterise a member of the NPY receptor family.

Olympic Gold Medalist and a Director of the Black Dog Institute, John Konrads, will also be attending the seminar as a special guest speaker. "Those who suffer from mental illness often can't use logic, and feel so black and negative that they have no self-awareness of their condition," says John, who has a strong personal experience with bipolar disorder. "The biggest relief is to learn that it's not your fault, and that a combination of medication, talking therapy, exercise and meditation can turn it around - it's important that people realise this and feel comfortable to reach out."

One of the world's greatest swimmers, John held numerous world records and represented Australia at three Olympics. He retired from swimming after the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and went on to maintain a distinguished career in Australian corporate life, directing marketing for well-renowned companies such as L'Oreal, Ansett and the Melbourne Major Events Company. John is now Director of the new Cook & Phillip Park aquatic and fitness complex in Sydney, and a Board Member of the Black Dog Institute which addresses the diagnosis, treatment and attitudes towards mental disorders.

As part of its ongoing commitment to increasing public knowledge of health and medical research, Garvan is holding a series of free public seminars throughout the year.

The Mental Health Disorders Seminar will be held at the Institute - 384 Victoria St, Darlinghurst

Date: Wednesday 17th October

Time: 6pm - 8pm (doors will open at 5:30pm).

Afternoon tea will be provided on arrival, for which a gold coin donation is appreciated.

Seats are limited, so registration is essential. To enrol, visit or phone 02 9295 8110