Our People

Emily Hielscher

Dr | Postdoctoral Research Scientist and Lab Coordinator

Child & Youth Mental Health

3362 0129



Emily has a first-class honours degree in Psychology and was recently awarded her PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology at the University of Queensland. She worked at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research for several years on a wide array of topics, including mental health disclosure among people with first-episode psychosis, adolescent population surveys, and carers of people with mental illness. She has a keen interest in early intervention and prevention and her PhD research, in particular, investigated the relationship between psychotic-like experiences and self-harm in adolescents. The results should help inform the best allocation of resources into the prevention and management of self-injurious and suicidal behaviour among young people who report psychotic experiences. In her current postdoc role at QIMR Berghofer, she manages a broad portfolio of work on youth self-harm and suicide prevention research.

In addition to her research work, she has been actively involved in tutoring undergraduate and medical students, as well as working for national mental health NGOs. In 2018, she worked at Beyond Blue as a Project Manager on promotion and prevention initiatives, including a national public health campaign that aimed at improving the community’s understanding of anxiety. Her research and project management work to date has been connected by a common goal of improving the mental health of Australians, particularly young Australians.



2016-2020: PhD Candidate, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland
2019-2020: Academic Tutor, School of Public Health, The University of Queensland
2018-2019: Project Manager of Mental Health Literacy, Beyond Blue
2013-2018: HP3 Research Officer, Mental Health Policy and Epidemiology Group, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research






Emily manages a portfolio of work focused on youth self-harm and suicide prevention research. This body of research is focused on the public health approach to suicide prevention and is inclusive of epidemiological, psychometric, and lived experience approaches.

One of her core projects is funded by Suicide Prevention Australia and will be the first study on the regional variability of self-harm and suicide attempts, and their related risk and protective factors, in Australian adolescents. The project team will be combining insights from spatial analyses of national data, and the voice of lived experience. They will be going out to different local communities to hear from young people themselves. In doing so, this project is expected to provide critical evidence that will inform targeted, local youth suicide prevention efforts. https://www.suicidepreventionaust.org/emily-hielscher/

More broadly, she works across a range of youth mental health research projects undertaken by the Child and Youth Mental Health Group, including ones focused on measuring and fostering positive mental health.


2021: Being commissioned by The Wellcome Trust to lead a team to build on the evidence base for the next generation of treatments and approaches for youth anxiety and depression. We were one of 21 teams selected through an international selection process by the Wellcome Trust to undertake this piece of work.

2020: Being awarded an Innovation Research Grant from Suicide Prevention Australia. This national funding supports researchers at all stages of their career and is intended to help generate new knowledge about suicidal behaviour, and the provision of greater insights on the interruption or prevention of suicidal behaviour.

2019: Lead author on the first systematic review on the relationship between self-harm and negative body image (and other bodily experiences) in adolescents. This was published in the prestigious international journal, Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. Hielscher, E., Whitford, T. J., Scott, J. G., & Zopf, R. (2019). When the body is the target – representations of one’s own body and bodily sensations in self-harm: A systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral  Reviews101, 85–112.

2019: Lead author on the first national publication on hallucinatory and delusional experiences in Australian adolescents, and their relation to non-suicidal self-harm, suicide attempts, and other negative psychosocial outcomes. Hielscher, E., Connell, M., Lawrence, D., Zubrick, S., Hafekost, J., & Scott, J. G. (2018). Prevalence and correlates of psychotic experiences in a nationally representative sample of Australian adolescents. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 52, 768–781.

2016: Part of the team that published the first national report on the economic value of informal mental health carers. This work prompted the launch of Caring Fairly, a national campaigning coalition. Diminic, S., Hielscher, E., Lee, Y.Y., Harris, M., Schess, J., Kealton, J. & Whiteford, H. The economic value of informal mental health caring in Australia: summary report. Brisbane: The University of Queensland; 2016

2014-2015: Development and implementation of a tool designed for young people with first episode psychosis, to support their mental health disclosure decisions in the workplace. Hielscher, E., & Waghorn, G. (2015). Managing disclosure of personal information: An opportunity to enhance supported employment. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 38(4), 306–313.


2019-Current: International Association of Suicide Prevention

2018-Current: Suicide Prevention Australia

2018-Current: Society for Mental Health Research

2017-Current: Australian Epidemiological Association

2017-2019: Australian Psychological Society

2012-2016: Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society


  • Black Dog Institute 2019 Black Puppy Foundation Travel Award. Annual national award for best publication by an early career researcher in youth mental health (2019)
  • UQ Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR) Publication of the Month (2019)
  • Dr F & Mrs ME Zaccari Scholarship. Competitive PhD scholarship open to national and international students to support their research into the cause, prevention, or treatment of schizophrenia and other allied mental illnesses (2016–2020)
  • West Moreton Australia Day Team Achievement Award – Excellence in Research (2015)
  • QCMHR Staff Excellence Award – For innovation, dedication, and efficiency (2015)
  • QUT School of Psychology & Counselling Honours Thesis Prize (2013)


2020: PhD in Psychiatric Epidemiology, The University of Queensland

2013: Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology, Hons 1), Queensland University of Technology

2012: Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology)/Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement Studies), Queensland University of Technology