The new global collaborative working relationship is led by Dr Anthony Papathomas and Dr Stacy Clemes (both School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences) and will allow all institutions to share ideas, knowledge, and expertise.
Dr Papathomas will connect with Associate Professor Paul Rhodes, a clinical psychologist within the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney. Prof Rhodes offers a unique skillset as a critical clinical psychologist with a focus not simply on individual deficits/vulnerabilities, but on the wider social and cultural spaces patients inhabit.
Dr Papathomas explained the importance of the collaboration: “Mental health in sport is certainly now front of mind but we know much less than we think.
“Approaches to date have been couched in medicalism, for example identifying symptoms and counting how many athletes have them. It’s a narrow, conservative scientism that ignores the wider experience of mental illness. Paul’s experience as a researcher and therapist practicing a more culturally informed clinical psychology is helping us to understand athlete mental illness differently.”
Associate Professor Paul Rhodes added: “This collaboration has, and will continue to be very fruitful, supporting the development of innovative approaches to sport and mental health beyond the mainstream.”
Dr Clemes has partnered with Associate Professor Nick Gilson from the University of Queensland. In line with Dr Clemes’ own research, Dr Gilson is currently undertaking a programme of research looking at the effectiveness of an exercise tailored intervention for truck drivers.
“This relationship will bring together the top two ranked Sport and Exercise Schools in the world,” said Dr Clemes.
“Due to the nature of their occupation, long-distance truck drivers are exposed to many health-related risk factors.
“As a consequence, they have been identified as working within one of the most hazardous professions in terms of health risks. At Loughborough University and at the University of Queensland, led by Dr Nick Gilson, we are conducting research designed to promote the health of truck drivers.
“Through this collaboration, we hope that we can strengthen further the effectiveness of our interventions targeting driver health through our shared expertise and learning from our research conducted to date.”