Dr Belinda Liddell
University of NSW
Neurobiological mechanisms of traumatic stress
The plight of refugees affects over 25 million people globally but we know little about how these experiences impact on the mental health of those affected. Dr Liddell is using brain imaging techniques to understand the impact of traumas such as torture in refugees who are suffering from posttraumatic stress, focusing on emotion and cognitive brain functions that are typically disrupted following trauma. Such mental health conditions can be debilitating and restrict a refugee’s ability to establish a new life inAustralia. This research will help us to develop better treatment strategies for addressing traumatic stress symptoms in refugees.
Currently, Belinda is engaging with refugee services, principally STARTTS (NSW Treatment and Rehabilitation Service for Torture and Trauma Survivors) to build a partnership for research and translation of neuroimaging insights into improving treatments. Inservices and workshops with refugee and migrant participants are planned. She has also written two articles for The Conversation in 2012 outlining evidence for the impact ofAustralia’s immigration policies on the mental health of asylum seekers; accessed by over 2500 people. She has also initiated community based research programs inCambodiaand Timor Leste.