ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Equally Well (2019-2020)


National Mental Health Commission, $114,854


Associate Professor Russell Roberts, Dr Michael Mehmet, Dr Chris Mayles (RMIT) and Professor Jenny Bowman (University of Newcastle)

Research Theme

Rural and Regional Communties


The project, which is funded by the Australian Government’s National Mental Health Commission, supports the physical health of people with mental illnesses. It is investigating the impact of national leadership and social marketing campaigns on the utilisation of online resources to support the physical health of people with mental illnesses.

The National Consensus Statement, Equally well: Improving the physical health of people living with mental illness in Australia, was launched in July 2017. The consensus statement was the result of broad consultation during 2015 and 2016, including a national consensus workshop of health and mental health stakeholders. Over 70 national organisations, including all state and territory governments and key organisations, have so far signed-up to ‘making the physical health of people living with mental illness a priority at all levels: national, state/ territory and regional.

ILWS researchers have secured further funding from the National Mental Health Commission (additional to that received for the initial project Equally Well Implementation Committee (2017-2019)  to continue conducting the two CSU research projects associated with this initiative. They are:

  • Collaborative models of leadership in national cross-sector health initiatives. This research will examine the factors leading to success in leading a national health improvement initiative across a complex multi-sector leadership environment.
  • Developing a digital communication model that would integrate stakeholder needs for information and engagement. This project will examine the role of digital communication in developing community participation and engagement across and within sectors and develop and implement a digital communication strategy to support the objects of Equally Well.
  • More information is available on the Equally Well website


Expected outputs from this project are:

  • a framework for implementing, supporting and evaluating projects against six elements of the consensus statement
  • the development of an Equally Well website and social media presence.
  • an annual symposia, quarterly newsletters, and dissemination of research through peer-reviewed journals, national and international conferences.

During 2019, the researchers were involved in a number of activities associated with the project.

    These included:

  • The development of  a comprehensive Equally Well website, which includes resources such as Tips to maintain physical health, and the benefits of physical activity
  • The convening of a national symposium “Equally Well in Action: Implementing strategies to improve the physical health of people living with mental illness.” The symposium, which was held at RMIT City Campus, Melbourne, was attended by 250 delegates
  • The establishment of an international support and collaborative learning network of 12 countries in September 2019 to address the global issue of improving the physical health of people living with mental illness. The network was established as a result of an international meeting organised by the researchers in Washington DC. Delegates at the meeting came from countries including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Sweden and the Netherlands.  More
  • Professor Russell Roberts was a keynote speaker at a symposium hosted by the Victorian Government
  • Organising and participating in a Parliamentary Forum at Parliament House in Canberra in October, 2019. The forum, which was convened by members of the Equally Well project team and Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy, was attended by more than 50 industry partners and parliamentarians. Professor Russell Roberts was a keynote speaker at the forum. Its aim was to develop a set of priority recommendations to present to government that will improve Australia’s physical and mental health treatments and services. Priority recommendations identified at the forum to improve the healthcare for coexisting mental and physical health conditions include:
    • implementing structural changes and improving access to services designed for people living with the coexisting conditions;
    • a re-orientation of mental health services so the prevention of physical health conditions is considered a priority;
    • adopting a collaborative approach to policy and practice that covers treatment and prevention of coexisting conditions; and
    • strengthening treatments so they better address the multi-morbidities in people living with mental health conditions.  More


The expected outcome of the Equally Well initiative is that it will help improve the physical health of people living with a mental illness.


A/Prof Russell Roberts email


July 2019