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Professor Alexandra Parker

BA (Hons), MPsych (Clin), PhD, UniMelb

Professor of Exercise and Mental Health

Alexandra (Alex) is a Professor with the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL).

Prior to joining Victoria University in 2017, Alex was a Senior Research Fellow and Associate Director of Knowledge Translation at Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. Alex is also a psychologist and has worked as a sessional clinician in youth mental health services for the past 10 years.

Alex’s current field of research examines physical activity interventions for young people with mood disorders. She is leading a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant for a large multi-site trial examining the integration of physical activity into standard care for young people with depression. She is also engaged in consultancy projects with national sporting bodies to examine the mental health and wellbeing of elite athletes/sportspeople.

Alex’s work has also focused on increasing the capacity and competence of the mental health workforce to implement evidence-informed practice to ensure better outcomes for those who are affected by mental ill-health. Her current research also involves the evaluation of youth mental health services and improving outcome measurement.

Recent publications

Refereed journal articles

Parker, A. G., Hetrick, S. E., Jorm, A. F., MacKinnon, A. J., Yung, A. R., McGorry, P. D., Purcell, R. (2016). The effectiveness of simple psychological and physical activity interventions for high prevalence mental health problems in young people: A factorial randomised controlled trial. Journal of Affective Disorders, 196, 200-209.

Rice, S. M., Purcell, R., de Silva, S., Mawren, D., McGorry, P. D., & Parker, A. G. (2016). The mental health of elite athletes: A narrative systematic review. Sports Medicine, 46(9), 1333-1353.

Rosenbaum, S., Tiedemann, A., Stanton, R., Parker, A. G., Waterreus, A., & Ward, P. B. (2016). Implementing evidence-based physical activity interventions for people with mental illness: an Australian perspective. Australasian Psychiatry, 24(1), 49-54.

Hetrick, S. E., Cox, G. R., Fisher, C., Bhar, S., Rice, S., Davey, C., & Parker, A. G. (2015). Back to basics: could behavioural therapy be a good treatment option for youth depression? A critical review. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 9(2), 93-99.

Brown, A., Rice, S. M., Rickwood, D., & Parker, A. G. (2015). Systematic review of barriers and facilitators to accessing and engaging with mental health care among at-risk young people. Asia-Pacific Psychiatry, 8, 3-22.

Books 

Hetrick, S. E., Parker, A. G., Bailey, A., Cahill, S., Rice, S., Garvin, T., Phelan, M., & Davey, C. (2015). Cognitive-behavioural therapy for depression in young people: A modular treatment manual. Melbourne: Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.

Refereed chapters

Purcell, R., Parker, A. G., Goldstone, S., & McGorry, P. D. (2012). Youth mental health: A new stream of mental health care for adolescents and emerging adults. In G. Meadows, B. Singh, & M. Grigg (Eds.), Mental health in Australia: Collaborative community practice (3rd ed., pp. 603-614). Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Conference presentations

Parker, A. G. (2016). Pilot Testing of a Manualised Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Intervention for Young People Diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. 8th World Congress of Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies, Melbourne.

Parker, A. G. & Purcell, R. (2015). Physical activity and depression in young people: Overview of the evidence and applying it in practice. Invited presentation at the International Association for Youth Mental Health, 3rd International Conference, Montreal, Canada.

Parker, A. G. (2014). Problem solving therapy and physical activity interventions for young people with depression and anxiety: Results from a randomised controlled trial. International Society of Affective Disorders Conference, 28-30 April, Berlin.

Parker, A. G. (2013). Skill-building psychological and physical activity interventions for young people with depression and anxiety: Results from a randomised controlled trial. Invited presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Youth Mental Health, Brighton, UK.

Parker, A. G. (2013). Behavioural and problem solving interventions for young people with high prevalence disorders: Results from a randomised controlled trial. Australasian Society for Psychiatric Researchers Conference, Melbourne.

Teaching responsibilities

Postgraduate research students and fellows

Completions

2 Masters students

Current supervision

Co-supervision of 1 PhD student, 1 Doctorate student, 1 Masters student

Research grants

Professor Parker has been a leader and contributor to academic and research consultancy projects with a total funding allocation of more than $AUD 4.5 million. This includes $1.61 million as Chief Investigator A on a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) project grant for a large multi-site trial examining the integration of physical activity into standard care for young people with depression.

Areas of expertise

  • Youth mental health services and interventions
  • Physical activity interventions for mental ill-health in young people
  • Knowledge transfer and translation
  • Mental health workforce professional development

Contact details

+61 3 9919 5874