Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
The project aims to investigate the effectiveness and feasibility of interventions to increase physical activity (PA) and reduce sedentary behaviour (SB) in mental health professionals and changes on their attitude towards and practices in recommending more PA and less SB to their clients.
Who can participate?
Mental health professionals aged 18–65 years
What does the study involve?
Participants will be asked to participate in a physical activity intervention of four weeks’ duration. They will be asked to attend a group-based single-session for behaviour change targeting physical activity and sedentary behaviours. The group session will include colleagues from the four headspace centres that are managed by Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. They will be asked to complete questionnaires at the beginning and end of the four-week study period. During the intervention period, a member of the research team will additionally contact participants by phone on two occasions to review participant's activity goals and monitor their progress. During the study period, participants will also be required to wear a motion sensor on their wrist. Some participants will be invited to join a focus group interview comprising of 6 to 7 participants to share their experiences with intervention.
Any information collected during the participation in the program will be accessible to the research team for research purposes. Following information which will be collected during the study period using a combination of self-report and objective measures:
1. Demographics (age, gender, postcode, educational status, work status, height, weight)
2. Sedentary behaviours and levels of physical activity
3. Sleep quality and duration
4. Attitudes towards and practices in recommending physical activity as part of routine mental health care
5. Barriers and facilitators of engaging in physical activity
6. Other health-related issues
The responses and data collected will be de-identified using randomly generated codes, so nobody, not even researchers in the project, will be able to match the responses with participant''s identity.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participation in this study will contribute to the potential development of physical activity intervention for mental health professionals and consequently will strengthen the evidence for implementation of PA and SB interventions among mental health professionals across Australia. Participants might also gain health and wellbeing benefits from increasing their engagement in PA and decreasing SB.
There are negligible risks associated with participation in this study. However, if participants feel any amount of stress related to the research project, research investigators will be available to discuss their problems.
Where is the study run from?
The study is run from the Institute for Health and Sport (IHES), Victoria University; and Victoria University Public Health Network (VUPHN). The group sessions will take place at headspace centers in Glenroy and Sunshine.
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
From September 2019 to October 2019
Who is funding the study?
This study is investigator-initiated and funded
Who is the main contact?
Professor Alex Parker
Mr Nipun Shrestha
8 Armstrong Street
Prof Alexandra Parker
Institute for Health and Sport (iHeS)
PO Box 14428
+61 3 9919 5874
Improving practices of mental health professionals in recommending more physical activity and less sedentary behaviour to their clients: findings from a mixed-methods intervention trial
Mental health professionals would be more likely to promote more physical activity (PA) and less sedentary behaviour (SB) to their clients if they themselves are more physically active.
Approved 07/08/2018, the Victoria University Human Ethics Research Committee (Victoria University, Ballarat Rd, Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3011; Australiaresearchethics@vu.edu.au; +61 3 9919 4781), ref: HRE18-123
Mixed-methods study design comprising of a four-week pre-post intervention trial and focus group discussions
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Non randomised study
Patient information sheet
See additional files
Attitude and practices of mental health professionals regarding recommending increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior
Participants will be either allocated to the intervention group or the control group.
The intervention group receive an intervention of 4-week duration consisting of the following components:
1. 1 h group behaviour change meeting, delivered by a registered psychologist to discuss the benefits of increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour and various strategies that can be adopted to achieve this. Participants were also asked to set their individuals goals and design their weekly plan to achieve their desired levels of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour. A printed and online version of the information booklet containing 24 such strategies will be provided during the behaviour change meeting.
2. Weekly reminder emails/text messages or telephone calls.
Control group participants was advised to maintain their usual day-to-day activity and, at the end of the 4-week study period and assessment, receive a group counselling session on the benefits of increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour.
Some participants will be invited to join a focus group interview comprising of 6 to 7 participants to share their experiences with intervention.
Primary outcome measure
Attitude and practices of mental health professionals regarding recommending increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior assessed using a set of items from the Exercise in Mental Illness Questionnaire - Health Professional version at baseline and 4 weeks
Secondary outcome measures
Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep duration assessed using the GeneActiv accelerometer at baseline and 4 weeks
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Mental health professional aged 18–65 years
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
2. Not engaged in clinical duties
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Headspace center Glenroy
2A, Hartington Street Glenroy
Trial participating centre
Headspace center Sunshine
Visy Cares Hub 80b Harvester Road
Institute for Health and Sport (IHES) and Victoria University Public Health Network (VUPHN)
Investigators initiated and funded
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Findings from this study will be used in series of publication
IPD sharing statement:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study will be stored in a non-publically available repository (Victoria University Research Repository, http://vuir.vu.edu.au).
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Stored in repository
Basic results (scientific)