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About the Developers

Prof. Suresh Sundram (psychiatrist and neuroscientist) and Dr. Debbie Hocking (clinical psychologist) are mental health researchers who have collaborated in the area of forced migrant mental health for over 10 years.


Between them, they have investigated the social determinants of mental health, and the prevalence and types of mental disorders in refugees and asylum seekers. They have also produced a mental health screening tool, the STAR-MH, for use by non mental health trained professionals to screen for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression to enable early identification and onward referral to appropriate health care providers. Their current work focuses on understanding the prevalence and nature of psychiatric disorder in young people with asylum seeking experiences and the development of a similar screening tool.

Prof. Sundram and Dr. Hocking's papers can be found at


Prof. Suresh Sundram


Prof. Suresh Sundram is a research psychiatrist and is Chair and Head, Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University; Director of Research, Mental Health Program, Monash Health; and Director of Research, Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub. He has been working with asylum seekers and refugees in Australia and internationally for over 15 years providing pro bono clinical care, service development and policy advice to UNHCR, and numerous national and state governments. His research focus has sought to identify mental illness in asylum seekers and refugees, the factors involved and developing tools to assist workers.


Dr. Debbie Hocking


Dr. Debbie Hocking is a mental health researcher at Cabrini Outreach and adjunct research fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, Monash University. She has undertaken research in forced migrant mental health for 15 years. Her research has been published in international peer-reviewed psychiatry journals and she has presented her findings extensively to Australian and international academic and clinical audiences through conferences and trainings. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Hocking provides trauma-focused psychotherapy to asylum seekers at the Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub in Northcote, Victoria, Australia.

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