Contact us

Professor Alexandra Parker

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

Professor of Physical Activity and Mental Health

Alex leads the Healthy and Inclusive Communities: Physical Activity, Sport and Culture research program within IHES as well as the Physical Activity, Body Image and Mental Health research group.

She leads a multidisciplinary research group that engages in projects that aim to measure, understand, and promote exercise and physical activity to optimise mental wellbeing and prevent and treat mental illness. Her research group aims to maximise the potential of physical activity in achieving better clinical outcomes, improved functioning and wellbeing in those at risk of, or experiencing, mental health problems.

Her major research interests are investigating the effectiveness of physical activity interventions in clinical settings, translating research findings into practice through workforce development and implementation studies and the mental health and wellbeing of elite athletes. Her current research also involves the evaluation of youth mental health services and improving outcome measurement.

Alex is the Chief Investigator on a NHMRC project grant multi-site cluster-RCT, examining the effectiveness of integrating a brief physical activity behaviour change intervention into routine clinical care for young people with depression. Prior to her current IHES appointment in 2017, she was the Associate Director Knowledge Translation at Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, where she worked for the past 11 years. Alex is a clinical psychologist with extensive clinical experience in youth mental health services.

Recent publications

Refereed journal articles

Shrestha, N., Weisner, G., Grgic, J., Podnar, H., Bennie, J. A., Parker, A. G., Biddle, S. J. H., & Pedisic, Z. (2018). Effectiveness of interventions for reducing non-occupational sedentary behaviour in adults and older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, published online(10.1136/bjsports-2017-098270). 

Rice, S. M., Parker, A. G., Rosenbaum, S., Bailey, A. P., Mawren, D., & Purcell, R. (2018). A systematic review of sports-related concussion and mental health outcomes in elite athletes. Sports Medicine, 48(2), 447-465. doi:10.1007/s40279-017-0810-3.

Rice, S. M., Gleeson, J., Leicester, S., Bendall, S., D’Alfonso, S., Gilbertson, T., Killackey, E., Parker, A. G.,  Lederman, R., Wadley, G., Santesteban-Echarri, O., Pryor, I., Mawren, D., Ratheesh, A., & Alvarez-Jiminez, M. (2018). Implementation of the enhanced moderated online social therapy (MOST+) model within a national youth e-mental health service (eheadspace): A single group pilot study for help-seeking young people (study protocol). Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(7), e48. 

Hughes, F., Badcock, P., Hebel, L., & Parker, A. G. (2018). Ten Guiding Principles for Youth Mental Health Services. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 12(3), 513-519. doi:DOI 10.1111/eip.12429

de Silva, S., Bailey, A. P., Parker, A. G., Montague, A., & Hetrick, S. E. (2018). An Open-Access Evidence Database of Controlled Trials and Systematic Reviews in Youth Mental Health. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 12(3), 474-477. doi:10.1111/eip.12423

Bailey, A., Hetrick, S. E., Rosenbaum, S., Purcell, R., & Parker, A. G. (2018). Treating depression with physical activity in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Psychological medicine, 48(7), 1068-1083. doi:10.1017/S0033291717002653

Rice, S. M., Telford, N., Rickwood, D., & Parker, A. G. (2017). Young men’s access to community-based mental health care: Qualitative analysis of barriers and facilitators. Journal of mental health, Online, 1-7. doi:0.1080/09638237.2016.1276528

Rice, S. M., Aucote, H. M., Parker, A. G., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., Filia, K. M., & Amminger, G. P. (2017). Men’s perceived barriers to help seeking for depression: Longitudinal findings relative to symptom onset and duration. Journal of Health Psychology, 22(5), 529-536. doi:10.1177/1359105315605655

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. doi:1039856215590252

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. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0492-2

Rice, S. M., Hickie, I. M., Yung, A. R., Mackinnon, A. J., Berk, M., Davey, C., Hermens, D., Hetrick, S. E., Parker, A. G., McGorry, P. D., & Amminger, G. P. (2016). Youth Depression Alleviation: The Fish Oil Youth Depression Study (YoDA-F). A randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled treatment trial. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 10(4), 290-299. doi:10.1111/eip.12166

Rice, S. M., Gleeson, J. F., Lederman, R., Wadley, G., Bendall, S., Koval, P., Jansen, J. E., Davey, C., Hetrick, S. E., Parker, A. G., & Alvarez-Jiminez, M. (2016). Moderated online social therapy (MOST) for depression relapse prevention in young people: Pilot study of a 'next generation' online intervention. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, ePub ahead of print, 1-13. doi:doi: 10.1111/eip.12354

Rice, S. M., Aucote, H. M., Möller-Leimkühler, A. M., Parker, A. G., Kaplan, R. A., & Amminger, G. P. (2016). Conformity to masculine norms and the mediating role of internalised shame on men’s depression: Findings from a community sample of Australian men. International Journal of Men's Health, 15(2), 157-164. doi:10.3149/jmh.1502.157

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. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2016.02.043

Hetrick, S. E., Goodall, J., Yuen, H. P., Davey, C., Parker, A. G., Robinson, J., . . . Simmons, M. (2016). Comprehensive online self-monitoring to support clinicians to manage risk of suicide in youth depression: a pilot study. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000422(online). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000422

Cox, G., Bailey, E., Jorm, A. F., Reavley, N. J., Templer, K., Bhar, S., Parker, A. G., Rickwood, D., & Robinson, J. (2016). Development of suicide postvention guidelines for secondary schools: A Delphi study. BMC Public Health, 16(180), 1-11. doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2822-6

Bailey, A. P., Simmons, M. B., De Silva, S., Hetrick, S. E., & Parker, A. G. (2016). Evidence translation in a youth mental health service: Clinician perspectives. SAGE Open, January-March, 1-10. doi:10.1177/2158244016631388

Rickwood, D. J., Telford, N., Mazzer, K., Tanti, C., Parker, A. G., & McGorry, P. D. (2015). Changes in psychological distress and psychosocial functioning for young people accessing headspace centres for mental health problems. Medical Journal of Australia, 202(10), 537-542. doi:10.5694/mja14.01696

Rickwood, D. J., Telford, N., Mazzer, K., Tanti, C., Parker, A. G., & McGorry, P. D. (2015). Services provided to young people through the headspace centres across Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 202(10), 533-536. doi:10.5694/mja14.01695

Rickwood, D. J., Nicholas, A., Mazzer, K., Telford, N., Parker, A. G., Tanti, C., & Simmons, M. B. (2015). Satisfaction with youth mental health services: further scale development and findings from headspace – Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, ePub ahead of print, doi:10.1111/eip.12248. 

Montague, A., Varcin, K., Simmons, M., & Parker, A. G. (2015). Putting Technology Into Youth Mental Health Practice: Young People’s Perspectives. SAGE Open, 5(2), 1-10. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2158244015581019

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. doi:10.1111/eip.12142

Hetrick, S. E., Bailey, A. P., Rice, S. M., Simmons, M. B., McKenzie, J., Montague, A. E., & Parker, A. G. (2015). A qualitative analysis of the descriptions of the nature of CBT tested in clinical trials for depression in young people. Journal of Depression and Anxiety, 4(1), 1-8. 

Gillies, D., Buykx, P., Parker, A. G., & Hetrick, S. E. (2015). Consultation liaison in primary care for people with mental disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Art. No.: CD007193.(Issue 9). doi:DOI: 10.1002/14651858.

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. doi:DOI:10.1111/appy.12199

Simmons, M. B., Parker, A. G., Hetrick, S. E., Telford, N., Bailey, A., & Rickwood, D. (2014). Development of a satisfaction scale for young people attending youth mental health services. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 8, 382-386. doi:doi: 10.1111/eip.12104

Rickwood, D. J., Telford, N., Parker, A. G., Tanti, C. P., & McGorry, P. D. (2014). Letter: headspace―Australia’s innovation in youth mental health: who are the clients and and why are they presenting? . Medical Journal of Australia, 200(8), 454. doi:doi:10.5964/mja14.00276

Rickwood, D., Telford, N., Parker, A. G., Tanti, C., & McGorry, P. D. (2014). headspace - Australian innovation in youth mental health care: who are the clients and why are they presenting? Medical Journal of Australia, 200(2), 108-111. doi:10.5694/mja13.11235

Rice, S. M., Simmons, M. B., Bailey, A. P., Parker, A. G., Hetrick, S. E., Davey, C. G., . . . Edwards, J. (2014). Development of practice principles for the management of ongoing suicidal ideation in young people diagnosed with major depressive disorder. SAGE Open, 2, 1-9. doi:10.1177/2050312114559574

Rice, S. M., Goodall, J., Hetrick, S. E., Parker, A. G., Gilbertson, T., Amminger, G. P., . . . Alvarez-Jimenez, M. (2014). Online and social networking interventions for the treatment of depression in young people: A systematic review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 16(9), e206. doi:10.2196/jmir.3304

McGorry, P. D., Goldstone, S., Parker, A. G., Rickwood, D., & Hickie, I. M. (2014). Cultures for mental health care of young people: an Australian blueprint for reform. Lancet Psychiatry, 1(7), 559-568. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00082-0

Davey, C. G., Chanen, A. M., Cotton, S. M., Hetrick, S. E., Kerr, M. J., Berk, M., Dean, O. M., Yuen, K., Phelan, M., Schaefer, M., Amminger, G. P., Parker, A. G., ... McGorry, P. D. (2014). The addition of fluoxetine to cognitive behavioural therapy for youth depression (YoDA-C): study protocol for a randomised control trial. BMC Trials, 15(1), 425-434. doi:10.1186/1745-6215-15-425

Bailey, A., Parker, A. G., Colautti, L. A., Hart, L. M., Liu, P., & Hetrick, S. E. (2014). Mapping the evidence for the prevention and treatment of eating disorders in young people. Journal of Eating Disorders, 2, 5. 

Morgan, A., Parker, A. G., Alvarez-Jimenez, M., & Jorm, A. (2013). Exercise and Mental Health: An Exercise & Sports Science Australia Commissioned Review. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 16(4), 64-73. 

de Silva, S., Parker, A. G., Purcell, R., Callahan, P., Liu, P., & Hetrick, S. E. (2013). Mapping the evidence of prevention and intervention studies for suicidal and self-harming behaviours in young people. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 34(4), 223-232. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/0227-5910/a000190

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

Parker, A. G., & Bailey, A. P. (in press). Exercise for adolescents and young people with mental illness. In B. Stubbs & S. Rosenbaum (Eds.), The Clinicians Guide to Physical Activity for People with Mental Illness: Evidence-Based Exercise Prescription. San Diego, USA: Elsevier.

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. (2018). Physical activity and mental health: Clinical considerations. Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), Research to Practice, Brisbane (invited presentation). 

Parker, A. G. (2018). Physical activity for the prevention and treatment of depression in young people. headspace Forum, Melbourne (keynote presentation). 

Parker, A. G. (2018). Physical activity for treating depression in young people: Barriers and facilitators to implementation. World Psychiatric Association, Innovations in Psychiatry, Melbourne. 

Parker, A. G., Hetrick, S. E., & Bailey, A. P. (2017). Physical activity interventions for young people with depression. 4th International Conference on Youth Mental Health, Dublin, Ireland. 

Parker, A. G. (2017). Mental health issues in Australian young people. ACHPER Conference (Health, Outdoor, Sport and Physical Education), Melbourne. 

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, 1 Doctorate student

Current supervision

Primary supervisor of 2 PhD students, co-supervision of 2 PhD students, 1 Masters student and 5 Honours students

Research grants

Professor Parker has been a leader and contributor to academic and research consultancy projects. In the last 5 years, she has attracted 9 grants, totalling $6.9M in competitive research funding (over $2M as principal investigator) and $223,000 in philanthropic/non-competitive funding.

NHMRC project and partnership grants total $6.36M as Chief Investigator A (CIA) or Chief Investigator. This includes $1.61 million as CIA 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 and $1.71 million as CII on a NHMRC project grant examining a novel mindfulness-based cognitive online social therapy to prevent depression relapse in young people.

Professional memberships

  • Registered clinical psychologist (Psychology Board of Australia)
  • International Association of Youth Mental Health
  • IEPA Early Intervention in Youth Mental Health.

Areas of expertise

  • Youth mental health services and interventions
  • Physical activity and exercise and mental health
  • 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