Anna Waterreus

Assistant Professor, RN NZ, GradDipClinEpi W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M431), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I am a specialised mental health nurse and researcher with 30 years of clinical and epidemiological expertise. For over 25 of those years I have been employed by UWA. I have a broad range of interests, but underpinning all my research has been the aim to improve the lives and care of people living with mental illness.


Between 1989 and 1993 I worked at the Institute of Psychiatry London, on a longitudinal survey examining morbidity and service usage of elderly people in Gospel Oak, North London and on an intervention study evaluating the effects of community psychiatric nurse intervention compared to usual general practitioner care on community dwelling depressed elderly people. In 1993 I received funding from the UK Health Department to develop and test a training package for primary health care workers in the recognition and management of depression in older people.

Since 1994, I have worked at UWA, successfully coordinated numerous research projects

  • assessing the impact of a brief motivational interview package to reduce alcohol consumption
  • evaluating changes in mental state in men undergoing hormonal withdrawal treatment for prostate cancer
  • clinical trials of Sertraline v Fluoxetine in the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Sertraline v Imipramine v Placebo in the treatment of Panic Disorder
  • randomised placebo controlled clinical trial of early introduction of antidepressant treatment to reduce the incidence of post-stroke depression.

I have extensive experience as coordinator of multi-site collaborative research.

  • First Australian national psychosis survey, 1997
  • Second national psychosis study, Survey of High Impact Psychosis, 2010
  • Follow-up NHMRC funded study: Barriers to physical health in serious mental illness, 2013-2016
  • NHMRC funded study: An empirical framework for assessing mortality and morbidity in people with psychotic disorders 2016-2020

I believe the physical health of people with severe mental illness cannot be ignored and developed a metabolic screening algorithm which has been including in the Australian Clinical Guidelines for Early Psychosis and an adapted version is being used in NSW and New Zealand.

I have also:

  • conducted an audit of physical health monitoring in a mental health outpatient service
  • surveyed Australian psychiatrists to document their metabolic monitoring practices
  • as part of an International consortium, developed and validated a questionnaire measuring physical activity in people with mental health problems (SIMple Physical Activity Questionnaire SIMPAQ).

Community engagement

I have an interest in ensuring research is conducted in an ethical manner and so support and mentor young researchers. In 2018, I wrote the content for a free, online course on ‘Conducting research in people with psychotic disorders or severe mental illness’ for the Western Australian Health Translation Network.

In 2020, in collaboration with South Metropolitan Mental Health Services, we conducted an audit of staff to better understand mental health care delivery in the time of a pandemic.

Roles and responsibilities

I am member of:

  • SPGH research committee
  • WA Mental Health COVID-19 research panel and lead the Severe Mental Illness working group

I am deputy head of the Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Research Unit (NERU)


Teaching overview

The Diagnostic Interview for Psychosis, a semi-structured clinical interview which provides a diagnostic classification in accordance with ICD-10 and DSM-IV criteria was developed for the first national psychosis survey. I assisted in its development and continue to train national and international researchers and clinicians in its administration.

External positions

Ethics Committee, Schizophrenia International Research Society

Apr 2020 → …

Research Representative Human Research Ethics Committee, North Metropolitan Health Service - Mental Health

2019 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • Physical health and psychotic illness
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cannabis research
  • Survey research implementation
  • Psychiatric diagnostic assessments
  • Depression in general practice


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