Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Associate Professor Vince Kelly
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health

External supervisors

  • Matthew Warren-James, University of Sunshine Coast
  • Dr Suzy Russell


Organised sport is primarily community based in Australia; and the benefits of sport participation to individuals and communities are well documented. However, there is also evidence that participating in organised high-performance sporting programs is associated with psychological distress, elevated relative to community norms, which would usually warrant a need for care by a health professional. As such a case for improvement in mental health education and practice in sporting communities exists.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a standardised, psychoeducational programme developed to improve the mental health literacy of participants and empower them to approach and assist individuals in distress as a result of mental illness. Evidence suggests that participation in MHFA improves participants' knowledge, attitudes and helping behaviours in regard to mental illness. Currently there is limited research examining the impact or efficacy of MHFA training in community sport.

Research activities

This MPhil or PhD project seeks to determine the impact and efficacy of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training in community sport.

A mixed-methods approach will be conducted to determine the impact of MHFA training in the sporting community, and the efficacy of this training for improving participants' perceived mental health literacy.

The research team has previous experience in similar MHFA research.


1 in 5 Australians suffer with a mental illness in any year, and it has been suggested that psychological distress and probable caseness are elevated relative to community norms in sporting communities.

Findings from the research will increase knowledge around the impact of MHFA training in the sporting community, and the efficacy of this training for improving participants’ perceived mental health literacy. Findings will also inform future programs of MHFA training delivered in community sport. The impact of this study includes contributing to knowledge that may help to improve mental health in sporting environments.

Skills and experience

You must have at least one of the following:

  • graduated from an Honours degree with a First Class or 2A Honours
  • successfully completed a research masters degree (PhD applicants)
  • successfully completed a masters by coursework degree or professional doctorate, with at least 25% research (PhD applicants).


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact the supervisor more information.