Our Research Program

Industry Partners & Researchers

Industry Partners

We are most grateful to our partner organisations: Those that funded our research project, the professional membership associations who have shown a genuine understanding of the need for this sort of training, and our training associates who partner with us to roll-out the program to participants in Australia and New Zealand.

“The biggest issue facing public practice accountants today is the mental health of their SME owner clients. The second biggest issue is their own mental health”

Andrew Conway

CEO of the IPA

The Australian Government’s BusinessBalance initiative provides $7 million to support the mental and financial wellbeing of small businesses through the COVID-19 recovery phase. As part of this initiative, funding of $2.2 million has been allocated to build the mental health literacy of trusted business advisers through the Counting on U program delivered by Deakin University. BusinessBalance will support small business owners take proactive steps to improve their mental health.

The BusinessBalance initiative is supported by the Australian Treasury. The Small and Family Business Division within the Australian Treasury works collaboratively across government and the small business community to ensure that the needs of small businesses are considered in policy and program development and implementation.

The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) is the largest bookkeeping institute in Australia. It promotes and maintains the standards of bookkeeping as a profession, through the establishment of a series of relevant qualifications and the award of grades of membership that recognise academic attainment, working experience and competence.

ICB brings certainty to the developing bookkeeping profession. Accountants, business and government look for a structure to understand bookkeeping and the competence of bookkeepers. They accredit, assists and informs bookkeepers and the community, thereby increasing the structure and definition of the profession. ICB is a member based, not for profit, professional association: bookkeepers helping bookkeepers.

A Professional Bookkeeper today does much more than ‘keep the books.’  They also help design business systems and processes, supports technology infrastructures, supports HR & IR needs and much more.  Above everything else, a professional bookkeeper is:

  • Experienced – has independent verification
  • Educated – committed to continuing professional development
  • Endorsed – a member of a professional body and committed to the requirements of that membership.

CPA Australia is proud to support Counting On U to ensure members are equipped to recognise and support their clients, employees and themselves in dealing with mental health issues. This project comes at a critical time for the accounting profession. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, accountants have played a frontline role in helping individuals and businesses manage the economic fallout, and this has put them under enormous pressure. Mental health is a whole of industry issue and, more so than ever before, needs a collective approach that supports all our members.  By training accountants to provide mental health support to their tens of thousands of small and medium business clients, we will have a larger societal impact.

Beyond Blue is an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to reduce the impact of anxiety, depression and suicide in Australia. We provide information and support to help everyone achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. We work to give everyone in Australia the confidence to speak openly about anxiety, depression and suicide – both to seek support when they need it and to check in with those close to them – and we tackle prejudice and discrimination wherever they exist. Beyond Blue’s tools, resources and services create mentally healthy environments. Through our dedicated programs, we support schools, universities, workplaces and community organisations to protect and promote good mental health. 

The IPA is an Australian Accounting body and is a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board.

The IPA has a passion for small business. More than 75 per cent of our members are either servicing small business or are small businesses in their own right. We constantly challenge ourselves to ensure we are delivering the best service possible to our members while maintaining our small business focus.

We aim to help SME advisors provide mental health support to small business owners, especially during times like these. We want our SME advisors to achieve better mental health by learning how to take care of themselves and how to face a range of unique challenges that can impact their own mental health, their staff or their clients.

Find out more about us: https://www.publicaccountants.org.au/ 

Contact email address: [email protected] 

Mental Health First Aid® (MHFA®) Australia is a national not-for-profit organisation that develops and evaluates training programs and trains and accredits Instructors. Our mission is to provide high quality, evidence-based mental health first aid education to everyone. Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem, or in a mental health crisis. This help is provided until professional help is received, or the crisis resolves. We offer a variety of training courses for the public, and have an active research program focused on developing course content and evaluating the effectiveness of our training programs. We also collaborate with different institutions and universities to support their research in this area. MHFA® Australia is therefore pleased to partner with Deakin University to evaluate our Blended Online MHFA® for Financial Service Professionals course. We will support the research team to carry out this evaluation by contributing curriculum, program delivery and research expertise to the project. In doing so, we hope to support the owners of small-medium enterprises by equipping their business advisors with the knowledge and skills to effectively support the mental health of their clients.

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) represent more than 128 000 financial professionals, supporting them to build value and make a difference to the businesses, organisations and communities in which they work and live. Around the world, Chartered Accountants are known for their integrity, financial skills, adaptability and the rigour of their professional education and training.

CA ANZ promotes the Chartered Accountant (CA) designation and high ethical standards, delivers world-class services and life-long education to members and advocates for the public good. We protect the reputation of the designation by ensuring members continue to comply with a code of ethics, backed by a robust discipline process. We also monitor Chartered Accountants who offer services directly to the public.

Our flagship CA Program, the pathway to becoming a Chartered Accountant, combines rigorous education with practical experience. Ongoing professional development helps members shape business decisions and remain relevant in a changing world.

We actively engage with governments, regulators and standard-setters on behalf of members and the profession to advocate in the public interest. Our thought leadership promotes prosperity in Australia and New Zealand.

WorkSafe Victoria plays a critical role in the lives of Victorian employers and workers – as the state’s health and safety regulator and as the manager of Victoria’s workers compensation scheme. In both capacities, employers and workers are at the heart of our service.

Our aim is to keep all workplaces healthy and safe, and to deliver high quality care and treatment when workers are injured.

Momentum Media is driven to create Australia’s most influential media and professional development business across the markets we operate in.

Our programs include the Australian Law Awards, the Australian Broking Awards, the Australian Accounting Awards, the Australian Defence Industry Awards, the Women in Finance Awards and the REB Awards.

Momentum Media’s suite of brands helps shape the direction of corporate Australia through delivering market intelligence, news, insights, leadership and knowledge across key market segments – ensuring organisations and individuals are better informed.

Whether it’s defence, national security and space through to mortgages, financial advice, legal or accounting, our aim is to be peerless and to excel in all facets of our business.

Mentally Well Workplaces was started in 2017 by Co-Directors Sally, Tina, Amy and Patrick. Their goal was to build a business that supported all aspects of employee mental health and wellbeing and help organisations across Australia create mentally well work environments via Mental Health First Aid, employee wellness hubs and resources, Employee Assistance Programs and online or face to face mental health workshops and seminars. With a spring boarding of early growth, the Directors spent time with their clients to find out what could be missing and accelerate change in improving mental health awareness and support in workplaces.  From these consultations and the extensive research that followed they created the Online Mental Health Induction program.  The team can now boast that this program, the first of its kind in Australia, inducts tens of thousands of employees every year not only locally, but also across the globe in North America, the UK, Europe and South East Asia.  To compliment this, they now have an extensive suite of programs both online and face to face available for small businesses to large corporations.

Humanex is a New Zealand owned and operated company founded in early 2020 by Co-Directors Lindsey and Kate . The organisation is a mission driven ‘impact enterprise’, designed to address the radical national need for improved mental wellness both in commercial environments and within the community.  As an accredited provider of the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) NZ curriculum, Humanex is determined to have a trained and certified mental health first aider in every organisation in New Zealand. At a broader community level, we aim to have one in ten people in New Zealand trained by 2030. Our wider organisational mission is to provide high quality, evidence-based mental health and wellbeing strategies to businesses; and tailored education, training and resources to community groups. We also campaign and advocate for improved mental health and wellbeing initiatives within the context of the prevention and early intervention stages of the mental health spectrum. Delivery of the MHFA curriculum is the first step in a journey to improve the mental wellbeing of everyone living in New Zealand.

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants with over 200,000 fully-qualified members and 500,000 students worldwide – and they’re among the world’s best-qualified and most highly sought-after accountants.

Our mission is to be a global leader in the profession by:

  • Providing opportunity and open access to people of ability wherever they are in the world
  • Supporting and promoting the highest ethical, governance and professional standards
  • Advancing the public interest

The Financial Advice Association Australia (FAAA) is Australia’s leading professional association for the financial advice profession, and advocates for the interests of financial advisers and their clients across the country.

Co-Chief Investigators of Research Program and Affiliate Researchers

Dr Arlene Walker

Dr Arlene Walker

Deakin University

Dr Arlene Walker obtained her PhD in 2008 in the field of organisational psychology. Arlene is a Senior Lecturer and chairs several units in the postgraduate organisational psychology program at Deakin University. Over the last five years, Arlene has consolidated her research expertise in graduate transition experiences, graduate work readiness and employee wellbeing and receives regular requests to review articles for scholarly journals relating to these topics. In 2011, Arlene and colleagues developed and validated the only known measure of work readiness in an Australian context with graduates from the commerce, finance and science industries. An updated, revised version of the work readiness scale for graduates in the health sector was published in 2015. More recently Arlene has developed a new research profile in family and domestic violence (FDV), with a focus on how FDV impacts the workplace, the nature of support/resources available to victims of FDV in the workplace and victim experience accessing these supports/resources. 

Professor Michael Berk

Professor Michael Berk

Deakin Business School

Michael Berk is an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow, and is Alfred Deakin Chair of Psychiatry at Deakin University and Barwon Health, where he heads the IMPACT Strategic Research Centre. He also is an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, the Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health and Orygen Youth Health at the University of Melbourne, as well as in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. He is past president of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders and the Australasian Society for Bipolar and Depressive Disorders. Michael’s major interests are in the discovery and implementation of novel therapies, and risk factors and prevention of psychiatric disorders. 

Associate Professor Nicola Reavley

Associate Professor Nicola Reavley

University of Melbourne

Nicola leads a research program that focuses on improving public knowledge and beliefs about mental illnesses and particularly on interventions that focus on prevention and on improving support for people with mental disorders. She is a Chief Investigator on five NHMRC-funded projects, four of which aim to improve mental health literacy in members of the public. She has also been the lead investigator on a number of projects that aim to assist workplaces to better manage mental health issues, including two Beyond Blue-funded projects.


Professor Tony LaMontagne

Professor Tony LaMontagne

Deakin University

Tony’s broad research interest is in developing the scientific and public understanding of work as a social determinant of health, and contributing to improvements in policy and practice aimed at protecting people from the harmful effects of work as well as optimising work’s health-promoting aspects. He leads a small Work, Health & Wellbeing research unit in the Centre for Population Health Research in the School of Health & Social Development at Deakin University, and is also the overall Director of that Centre. He was previously an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health (2011–2014).

Professor Karina Nielsen

Professor Karina Nielsen

Sheffield University School of Management

Karina was awarded a PhD in applied psychology in 2003. Karina has more than 20 years of experience leading major national and international organisational and individual training interventions. She has developed multiple evaluation frameworks that focus on how the processes and context influence the implementation of interventions. In recognition of her pioneering role in developing a more in-depth understanding of intervention processes, she has won multiple awards and is a frequent keynote speaker at major international conferences. Karina has developed and tested leadership training which is of particular relevance to the current project as the main target of improving outcomes are not trainees themselves but people that trainees interact with as part of their job role. This poses particular challenges for the actual transfer of learning from training to the work context and improvements for business owners. These training interventions have had positive effects on both leaders themselves and their employees.


Dr Angela Martin

Dr Angela Martin

University of Tasmania

Dr Angela Martin is the founder and Principal Consultant of Pracademia. She holds current part-time and honorary Professorial appointments with the Menzies Institute for Medical Research and the College of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania. Angela has an academic career spanning 20 years, including positions with a number of Australian Universities, strong national and international collaborations and progression through leadership roles such as Graduate Research Co-ordinator, Discipline Leader and Associate Dean Research. She is known internationally for her research on the relationships between work and mental health and has received a national teaching award for her work on the development of psychological wellbeing management capabilities via executive education.  Having been engaged in knowledge translation, research co-production and research impact strategy development, Angela has developed insight into the processes and outcomes of knowledge mobilisation and exchange that are key to Pracademia’s mission.