Project Title

Needs of young people with mental ill-health as they transition to education and training

Project Type



Research interests of the research team offering the project

This PhD project will be aligned with a range of educational and vocational support programs at the Centre for Youth Mental Health and Orygen. Young people with mental health difficulties consistently list work and education goals as top priorities of their recovery. Orygen has led the world in developing interventions and support in this area: from individual placement and support programs (now available in over 50 youth mental health services nationally) and digital platforms to enhance work and study skills, to our university mental health framework to support the mental health and wellbeing of university students.

Details of the project

This PhD project is supported by the TAL community foundation in collaboration with Orygen and the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre. The collaboration brings together key researchers in the area of youth mental health and functional recovery to generate new knowledge regarding the impact of mental health on this transition point.

Aims will be to:

  • Identify the prevalence and impact of mental ill-health on the transition to further education.
  • Map the mental health needs and risk profiles of young people, including the individual, societal, and geographic influences.
  • Translate findings into information, resources, and interventions for a variety of contexts to better support young people and their educational goals.

The project will use novel large-scale data with outcomes feeding directly into the tertiary education sector. The project also has scope to identify trends longitudinally between cohorts and individually, by linking to other external datasets. Ultimately this piece of work seeks to support young people to lead successful and meaningful lives according to their goals.

Project references

  1. Killackey E, Allott K, Woodhead G, Connor S, Dragon S, Ring J. (2017). Individual placement and support, supported education in young people with mental illness: an exploratory feasibility study. Early intervention in psychiatry11(6), 526-531.
  2. Filia K, Menssink J, Gao CX, Rickwood D, Hamilton M, Hetrick SE ... Cotton SM. (2022). Social inclusion, intersectionality, and profiles of vulnerable groups of young people seeking mental health support. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology57(2), 245-254.
  3. Gao C, Menssink J, Campbell T, Smith CL, Ikin J, Lane TJ ... Carroll M. (2022). Somatic symptoms, psychological distress and trauma after disasters: lessons from the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire and 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires.

Scholarships and fees

A stipend of $32,400 per year is available for this PhD project.

Scholarships are available through the University of Melbourne – find out more here.

Other scholarship opportunities may also be available but are highly competitive, so please speak to the contact person below for further details.

Information on fees for domestic and international students is available here.

How to apply

  1. Read information for future students here and check your eligibility here.
  2. Read our frequently asked questions here.
  3. Liaise with, and gain the support of, the supervisor/s. Please contact them using the details below and attach a copy of your CV and university transcript(s). 
  4. Once you’ve gained supervisor support, follow the steps outlined by the University of Melbourne here. You can go straight to Step 3. 

You are strongly encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


Dr Jen Nicholas
[email protected]
+61 3 9966 9175