COVID-19 Advice for the JCU Community - Last updated: 22 October 2021, 8am (AEST)

PAHL Community Programs

Our Community Programs

Given PAHL’s focus on improving people’s physical and mental health, the group has developed - and continues to oversee - various successful community health programs. PAHL’s stepped approach to the development of its programs starts with community consultation – listening to people about the health issues that matter to them. PAHL then designs program drafts based on best-practice psychology principles, and/or the testing of methods in lab- or field-based settings. Programs are then provided via a soft-launch in order to establish feasibility and preliminary efficacy.

Once programs are shown to be feasible and likely to be effective on a broad scale, the group works with various stakeholders to embed them throughout the community. PAHL continues to test the efficacy of its programs after their main launch, and builds participant, stakeholder, and community input into every stage of a program’s life.

PAHL’s current community programs are detailed below. If you or your organisation are interested in participating in these programs, please reach out via our ‘Contact Us’ page.

Psychological distress is prevalent among new mothers, and is debilitating for mother, baby, and the family. In 2017, PAHL developed the Mummy Buddy Program, which sees experienced mums receive communication and social support training before becoming a “Buddy” to a new mum. The aim is to help those new mums make a happy and healthy transition to parenthood.

As part of a 2-year pilot trial funded by Healthway, nearly 70 new mums and Mummy Buddies took part in the program through 2018 and 2019. Initial results showed that the program had strong positive effects for all involved.

For more information about the program view the Mummy Buddy 2019 video.

The Mummy Buddy Program logo

Over 70 per cent of Australian men are overweight or obese, accounting for substantial health, economic, and social costs. What’s more, it’s common that men bury their head in the sand – it’s hard to ‘activate’ them to make a positive health change. MAN v FAT Soccer is a fun program that wraps weight loss help, support, and advice around a weekly soccer match. In the UK, over 90 MAN v FAT leagues have opened since 2016, and despite interruptions associated with COVID-19, participating men have collectively lost over 125,000kg.

With support from Healthway, Sport Australia, and UWA Sport, PAHL opened the first Australian MAN v FAT Soccer league at UWA in 2018. At the end of the first 15-week season, the 80 men lost an incredible 515kg. In 2021, we now have leagues in Bunbury (WA), Canning (WA), Cockburn (WA), Gawler (SA), Joondalup (WA), Mandurah (WA), Rockingham (WA), Swan (WA), Townsville (Queensland), UWA Floreat (WA), and Victoria Park (WA)

In addition to obtaining substantial weight loss, players have reported substantial lifestyle and mental health improvements’. Visit the MvF Soccer website, the Man V Fat YouTube channel, and follow the Man V Fat twitter feed for info, media coverage, and inspiring player stories.

Man V Fat Soccer logo

Teaching is a high-stress, high-churn job, and school principals are seeing too many burned-out staff leaving the profession.

PAHL’s GRIT program is a social support, resilience-building, and coping initiative designed for, and with, school teachers. The GRIT program has been successfully delivered and embedded into numerous Australian high schools. Please contact us if you would like to implement the GRIT program in your school.


Due to the success of the GRIT Program, the PAHL group extended the principles and methods of GRIT into a program for employees at various organisations. This new program, GROW, is designed to be a flexible offering to organisations of various types and sizes. GROW is in its formative stages, and we welcome the opportunity to deliver the program in new organisations.

GROW logo

University life provides opportunities for social, personal, and academic growth; however, it does not insulate students against mental health problems. In fact, it may actually exacerbate the likelihood of young people facing mental health problems. Conservative estimates indicate that more than 200,000 Australian students may experience mental health problems in any given year.

In 2020, PAHL launched the Stride program – a structured, 12-week, mentor-led exercise program for students with mental health problems. Stride is provided as a complement to existing psychological therapy and counselling options, with a focus on enjoyable exercise options and long-term activity promotion. Stride is the first program of its kind in Australia and promises to provide a blueprint for campuses across the country. Please see here for more information on Stride.

Stride logo