Providing the first community-based Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment for war veterans is just one of the achievements ofProfessor David Crompton, the latest recipient of the Margaret Tobin Award.

Named in honour of the late Dr Margaret Tobin, the prestigious honour is awarded to the Royal Australian New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Fellow who has made the most significant contribution to administrative psychiatry in the region over the preceding five years.

Professor Crompton is the new director of Griffith University’s Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) and also the Executive Director of Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services.

He said it is a tremendous honour to receive the Margaret Tobin Award, but that “it is a result of a fantastic team effort”.

20 year project

In 1998, Professor Crompton led the development of the first community treatment program in Strathpine for veterans with PTSD, mental health issues and substance abuse.

This led into community-based treatment for patients with work-related trauma. Both continue to this day in a community setting attached to Toowong Private Hospital.

“Prior to this, the treatment programs required veterans to be admitted to hospital. However, for most veterans, community-based care was their preferred option enabling them to live at home with their families or in a community setting during the treatment program.

“The community setting over the years since the programs were established has been demonstrated to be as effective as hospital inpatient care and more appropriately has met the needs of veterans and others affected by PTSD.”

Natural disaster help

The establishment of an effective means of identifying adults and older people affected by the cyclones and floods of 2010-11 was also the work of a team led by Professor Crompton.

Operating Queensland’s Mental Health Disaster Program through the Department of Health, he set up a successful program which ran in community centres and GP practices across the state.

Over the last five years Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services has also changed with the formation of the Hospital and Health Service and the implementation of clinical programs guided by research and learning.

The Service now is an active participant in clinical research with staff enrolled in PhDs and conjoint positions with Griffith University, QUT and the University of Queensland.

New programs

The work with Griffith has resulted in the appointment of the Addiction and Mental Health Services’ first Associate Professor in Nursing from Griffith and the development of many joint research programs.

“With such a diverse population, we remain challenged by the mental health disorders that affect so many people, especially in indigenous and rural communities and also among our youth.

“As is the case with all universities, we need increased funding to expand our research, and ensure what we deliver has the financial backing to be supported within the community for maximum effectiveness.”