Royal Society of NSW News & Events

Royal Society of NSW News & Events

1299th OGM and Open Lecture

Professor Richard Bryant “Managing psychological distress in times of stress: the stress of COVID-19 and all that”

Professor Richard Bryant AC FASSA FAA FAHMS
Scientia Professor of Psychology &
Director, Traumatic Stress Clinic
UNSW (Sydney)

Date: Wednesday, 1 December 2021, 6.30 pm AEDT 
Venue: Zoom Webinar
Video Presentation: YouTube video
All are welcome

 Summary: Australia has a long tradition of dealing with environmental challenges, including seasonal impacts of bushfires, floods, drought, and severe storms. These events can result in marked deterioration in the mental health of Australians. This pattern has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen a significant increase in mental health problems across the nation. This has sparked calls both in Australia and globally for novel approaches to manage mental health problems in the wake of these mass events.

This review will describe a body of work that has mapped many of the key mechanisms that promote better mental health after adversity. It will also describe work that has harnessed this evidence to develop brief mental health programs that can be readily disseminated to people in times of need. Controlled trials will be reported that have evaluated the extent to which these programs can improve mental health, and how this approach points to a re-think of how mental health is managed by governments.

Richard Bryant is a Scientia Professor of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Professor Bryant’s research has focused on the nature and treatment of stress reactions. He has identified key genetic, neural, and psychological factors underpinning stress reactions and strategies to manage them. His assessment and treatment protocols have been translated into over 15 languages and used in many countries. Professor Bryant has written 6 books, 75 book chapters, and 670 journal articles. He has worked with the World Health Organization to develop programs to manage stress reactions and has adapted these to manage mental health problems during the pandemic. This program has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression, and anxiety, and is being evaluated across Australia, Europe, and India.

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