UWA Changemaker - Shraddha Kashyap  

UWA Student
Fulbright Western Australia Postgraduate Scholarship recipient

Improvements in mental health outcomes 

My doctoral research at UWA aims to apply psychological research in clinical practice and has involved a collaboration with Perth Clinic; a private mental health facility. We found that continuously measuring individuals’ psychological distress during treatment, rather than once at the beginning and once at the end of treatment, can improve precision in predicting adverse health outcomes such as self-injury. For example, it is often thought that all individuals who report high initial distress would be at the highest risk of self-injury.

However, individuals who reported an early improvement in psychological distress were at a lower risk of self-injury despite beginning with high initial distress. This novel approach of continuous monitoring could lead to more individualised, nuanced and precise risk assessment techniques that extend beyond inpatient mental health facilities and could be used to enhance mental health outcomes more broadly. I aim to apply this principle when studying psychological distress and risk among refugees and asylum seekers at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture.

UWA and me

I began studying at UWA in 2005 and completed a BA (French) and a BSc (Psychology) in 2010. Two highlights of my undergrad years were studying abroad for one semester in Lille, France and volunteering for Australian Red Cross in their programs for refugee youth.  I spent one year working and travelling before completing my Honours year in Psychology in 2011, and beginning a combined PhD/Masters in Clinical Psychology at UWA the following year.  

On being a Fulbright scholar

I have just begun my Fulbright scholarship as a visiting researcher at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture in New York City (PSOT). PSOT provides mental health, medical, social and legal services to survivors of torture, war trauma and other human rights abuses as well as their family members. I hope to learn about the challenges faced by asylum seekers and refugees living in the US, and the kinds of interventions delivered at this clinic.Specifically, I aim to investigate factors associated with risk of self-injury, and resilience despite exposure to trauma in this population. This kind of knowledge can be used to improve the quality of life of torture survivors, asylum seekers and refugees all over the world.

About Shraddha

Shraddha is currently a PhD candidate and a Provisionally Registered Psychologist completing a Master of Clinical Psychology at the University of Western Australia. Shraddha’s doctoral study involves the translation of psychological research into clinical practice. Her work in the School of Psychology at the University of Western Australia has involved a collaboration with Perth Clinic; a private mental health facility. 

Shraddha grew up in Kenya and lived in Jordan for one year before migrating to Australia with her family in 2002. Prior to commencing her PhD, Shraddha won a scholarship to study in Lille, France, and has since travelled around Europe, South America, North America and Asia.

Shraddha has a keen interest in refugee mental health and hopes to find meaningful ways of helping displaced peoples begin new lives, despite suffering from previous trauma.  The Fulbright Scholarship will allow Shraddha to apply her doctoral research to the asylum seeker and refugee population.  She will investigate resilience among individuals undergoing treatment at the NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture.