Mental Health Literacy Training and Education for the primary health workforce

Project Short Title
Building mental health literacy responsiveness

Project Status

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

Chief investigators (UNSW)
Mark Harris (UNSW lead), Ben Harris-Roxas, Jackie Curtis, Catherine Spooner

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

Chief investigators (Mid North Coast Local Health District)
Richard Tranter, Robyn Martin

Chief investigators (North Coast Primary Health Network)
Julie Sturgess


The Mental Health Commission of New South Wales is undertaking a cross sector innovative Health Literacy project. It aims to improve the mental health understanding and knowledge of the health workforce and to reduce stigma, with the longer-term aim of contributing to the following outcomes:

  • improved access for people with lived experience of mental health issues to services, including tailored options
  • improved experience and satisfaction of people with lived experience using services
  • improved health outcomes.

The focus of the initiative is on improving general organisational health literacy/health literacy responsiveness and mental health literacy. It will target health literacy interventions for clinicians and organisations/systems in primary care and specialist health settings to improve outcomes for people with lived experience of mental health issues and caring.

Key reference documents for this project include Living Well, Key Directions (strategic plan) and the Lived Experience Framework

A Collaborative Working Group (CWG) has been established by the Commission to operationalise the initiative.

A consortium led by Swinburne University and including UNSW CPHCE successfully obtained the tender to implement the Training and Education component of the Health Literacy Initiative.

Project Aim/s

The Training and Education component of the Health Literacy Initiative aims to:

  1. co-design, produce, and deliver a health literacy approach and materials
  2. design and conduct an evaluation of the materials produced and delivered as part of this initiative.

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.