Mental Health Literacy Training and Education for the primary health workforce

Project Short Title
Building mental health literacy responsiveness for health services

Project Status

Chief investigators (Swinburne University of Technology)
Richard Osborne (Consortium lead), Neil Thomas, Shandell Elmer, Ranjit Nadarajah

Chief investigators (UNSW)
Mark Harris (UNSW lead), Catherine Spooner, Cathy O’Callaghan, Xue (Snow) Li

Chief investigators (University of Newcastle)
Leigh Kinsman, Graeme Browne, Pauletta Irwin


Scientia Profession Mark Harris, Dr Catherine Spooner, Dr Cathy O’ Callaghan and Dr Snow Li from the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity collaborate on a statewide research project with the Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Newcastle funded by the mental health commission. A mental health literacy responsive service should identify and respond to health literacy needs, strengths, preferences and supports the mental and physical wellbeing of people with a lived experience of mental health issues and caring. The consortium of the three universities have conducted a statewide co-design workshop with people with lived experience of mental health issues and other key stakeholders and developed a suite of resources that support service providers to build capacity to be more mental health literacy responsive. The resources can be accessed through the Mental Health Commission website: Health literacy development | Mental Health Commission of New South Wales (

Project Aim/s

The project aims to improve health services’ responses to the need of people with lived experience of mental health issues and ensure more service providers are responsive to mental health literacy.

Project Design and Method

The project has been divided into four components

Component 1: Planning phase: Needs assessment and co-design
Component 2: Development and production phase – Selection and designing of interventions, methods and approaches
Component 3: Implementation phase – Delivery of the agreed health literacy approach and materials in the pilot and wider roll-out phases of the initiative
Component 4: Evaluation.

The project is currently in the implementation stage. The Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity team will work closely with the other two universities and the primary health networks in NSW to refine the resource and design the implementation strategies. If you want to learn more about the project or how your services can be improved to meet the needs of people with lived experience of mental health issues, contact Dr Snow Li at