Michelle’s early research experience was in biological anthropology, focusing on the behaviour and social systems of primates. When she returned to research in 2004 following a period of ill health, she worked in the areas of consumer-focused research and the use of technology for the self-management of mental health problems. Her PhD explored mental health consumers’ priorities for research on depression and bipolar disorder in Australia.
Michelle's research interests include effective services and policy for mental illness. She heads the Lived Experience Research Unit at the Centre for Mental Health Research, incorporating ACACIA: The ACT Consumer & Carer Mental Health Research Unit. The Lived Experience Research Unit aims to increase the involvement of mental health consumers and carers in the research process and conduct research relevant to their needs. From 2015-17, Michelle completed an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) fellowship looking at service access and navigation for people with serious mental illness. She also completed an MRFF Translating Research into Practice Fellowship to explore the implementation of mental health peer work (2018-21). Most recently she has been appointed as the Lived Experience Lead Investigator for the ALIVE National Mental Health Research Translation Centre. She is also leading an innovative co-created project to evaluation safe spaces for suicide prevention.
As part of her commitment to active consumer involvement, Michelle has strong connections with consumer organisations and representation. She has held a number of local and national representative roles with consumer organisations. Through these roles, Michelle fosters strong ties between the consumer and research communities.