The Bridging Study:
Evaluating Navicare to improve mental health service access in regional Australia

Why the research project is important

One in five Australians experience mental illness each year, but there is inequity in the disease burden, particularly for those living in outer regional and remote areas. A range of factors underpin this inequity, including geographical, structural and societal. Perhaps the most significant barrier is the ability to access appropriate and timely mental health services, which is markedly more challenging in outer regional and remote areas.

Access to appropriate care, at the right time and place, supports better mental health and quality of life outcomes and reduces the burden of crisis care.

Bridging Study logo

What the research seeks to do

In collaboration with local community members, our team developed and piloted the Navicare model at a hub site in Moranbah in the Bowen Basin region in Queensland.

In the Navicare model, a Care Navigator links help-seekers with supports they may need to improve their mental wellbeing. The Care Navigator assists with referrals, making appointments with mental health care professionals, and providing a private space in which to access online mental health support from online psychology partners.

This project will evaluate the Navicare model at the existing Moranbah site, as well as new sites in the Greater Whitsundays region. Town Halls with local communities will inform where new sites will be located, as well as helping researchers to understand the contextual factors that will influence implementation, scaleup and sustainability of the program.

What are the research outcomes/ impact

We aim to improve access to, and uptake of, appropriate and timely mental health care for people living in regional Queensland by reducing barriers to accessing care and increasing service options.

Funding Body

This study has been funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Grant (GNT2018981).


Dr Zephanie Tyack (QUT)

Prof Steven McPhail (QUT)

Dr Bridget Abell (QUT)

Dr Hannah Carter (QUT)

Prof Sarah Larkins (James Cook University)

Prof Gregory Aarons (University of California San Diego)

Prof Adrian Barnett


Dr Olivia Fisher (Wesley Research Institute)

A/Prof Kate Murray (QUT)

Prof Gillian Harvey (QUT/Flinders University)

Ms Lee Jones (QUT)


Wesley Research Institute

Beyond Blue

Isaac Regional Council

Greater Whitsundays Communities