Protocol for national mental health guidelines for community sport in Australia

Publication Name

BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine


Organised sports are the most common settings for sports participation. Despite a range of documented benefits from participation, these positive outcomes are not always guaranteed. Emotional distress from pressure and injuries can mean some participants experience negative outcomes. To ensure organised sports are well equipped to promote the mental health of their members, evidence-based guidelines for them are required. Using a Community-Based Participatory Research framework, mental health guidelines for community sport will be developed. In Phase One, community sport stakeholders will participate in focus groups. The aim is to understand their preferences of the content, purpose and scope of the guidelines. In Phase Two, an e-Delphi study will be conducted with experts in mental health and sport in Australia to gather recommendations on the purpose and scope of the guidelines. In Phase Three, a national consensus meeting with an Expert Guideline Development Committee will be held to draft the guidelines. In Phase Four, follow-up focus groups will be held with community sport stakeholders to understand the usability and acceptability of the draft guidelines. In Phase Five, a second e-Delphi study will be conducted to provide feedback on the revised guidelines after community stakeholder review. In Phase Six, implementation case studies will assess the implementation of the guidelines in community sport clubs. These mental health guidelines will answer an urgent call for action by experts. The guidelines will be based on sector needs and preferences, be acceptable and useable, and be able to be implemented by community sport clubs globally by 2025.

Open Access Status

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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)