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Using Yoga to potentially improve mental health in Australian Defence Forces & First-Responders

About the project and the involvement opportunity
Australian Defence and First-Responder/Emergency Services personnel are often the frontline responders to national and international disasters and emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic, bushfires, and international conflicts. These stressors and crises have immediate and long-term effects on mental health which ultimately leads to Australian Defence and First-Responders having higher rates and severity of mental health difficulties and suicidality than civilians.

Historically, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been considered the “gold standard”, most effective mental health intervention. Yet, issues related to clinician availability, cost, stigma, and time mean that CBT is not always suitable or effective for all individuals. A growing body of evidence supports yoga for improvement in mental health, however, no formal recommendations exist in Australia, perhaps due to a lack of well-designed research studies.

We have co-created a yoga protocol specifically with and for Australian Defence and First-Responder personnel. The purpose of lived experience involvement in this project is to assess if yoga – compared to CBT – can improve mental health among current and ex-serving Australian Defence and First-Responder personnel.

About the position
We are seeking current and ex-serving Defence and First-Responder personnel to share and contribute your unique expertise around project document review (grant applications, ethics submissions, research publications), assisting with recruitment for the research project, and sharing the results and findings of the study within the greater community.

What am I expected to do?
We would like you to use your knowledge and experience as a current or ex-serving Defence or First-Responder to inform the design and feasibility of the research project, identifying possible constraints and limitations. As a valued contributor within this project, your lived experience perspective is essential and key to the overall success of this project.

What skills or experience do I need?
Attention to detail, self-motivated, a passion for mental health among Defence and First-Responder personnel.

How long am I expected to be involved?
We expect the project to run for approximately 5 years. Time commitment will vary at different stages of the project depending on the needs and timeline of the project. We expect to have meetings every 3-months and anticipate an average of 8 hours of document review every 6 months.

Where will meetings be held?
A mutually convenient location, either in-person or online via Teams/Zoom.

What support is offered?
$37.50 per hour honorarium with a 2-hour minimum per opportunity. Training is available through the Consumer and Community Involvement Program.

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