Mental Health Applied Skills and Knowledge (ASK)

Mental Health Applied Skills and Knowledge (ASK)

Mental Health Applied Skills and Knowledge (ASK)

ESSA’s first ASK professional development has been developed to build applied skills and knowledge to work in the field of mental health. This suite of PD is designed to be accessible to all our accreditation streams and external parties, this includes AEPs who may work with those who have mental illness, as well as AES and ASpS who work with those who may be experiencing poor mental health, or those who display some symptoms of mental illness but do not have a diagnosis. 


The ASK mental health PD includes three parts with each part containing a selection of units. The units from each part fit together to form the knowledge base we consider appropriate for that part. However, each unit is also a standalone unit, meaning that you can complete only selected units from each part if you wish.

Part 1 - Exploring Diagnoses
Part 1 explores the major mental illness diagnoses, the symptoms and presentations, guidelines for exercise prescription and treatment options.

Topics included are:
Depression, Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Psychosis, Bipolar and Personality Disorders
Trauma related diagnoses; PTSD and Substance Use

Learning outcomes:
Completion of these units will result in the following learning outcomes: Understanding of different mental illness diagnoses and their co-morbidities, knowledge of the evidence around exercise prescription, knowledge of the treatment options available and how treatments may impact on your client/consumer/athlete.

For more information and registration click below:  
Exploring Diagnoses: Psychosis, Bipolar and Personality Disorders
Exploring Diagnoses: Depression, Anxiety and OCD
Exploring Diagnoses: Trauma-related Diagnoses; PTSD and Substance Use

Part 2 - The role of the exercise professional as an accidental counsellor
Part 2 addresses methods and tools for communicating effectively in the mental health and illness arena effectively

Topics included are:
Behaviour change strategies in mental health 
Communication skills and strategies in mental health
Identifying and responding to mental health symptoms

Learning outcomes:
Completion of these units will result in the following learning outcomes: understanding behaviour change strategies in mental health and exercise and how these may impact your client/consumer/athlete, knowledge and application of communication skills with those with poor mental health or a mental illness and how to recognise symptoms and what to do when you encounter them.

Released in September 2021

Part 3 - Understanding the mental illness journey
Part 3 explores different aspects of the lived experience, from understanding individual journeys, understanding how people navigate the mental health system and how to measure your practice effectiveness and advocate for services.

Topics included are:
Understanding the lived experience
Australia’s mental health system (and services) 
Evaluating current practice and advocating for exercise

Learning outcomes:
Completion of these units will result in the following learning outcomes: understanding of how mental illness impacts an individual’s life and their capacity for sport and exercise, knowledge of the mental health system and the consumer journey through it, as well as knowledge of how to undertake program evaluations and using the data to advocate for change in the mental  health and exercise setting.

Released in October 2021

ASK working group

This ASK course was designed and developed by the ESSA member ASK working group. 

Group members:
Ebony Darge 
Kirrily Gould 
Oscar Ledermen
Elisha Silcox
Lisa Simmons
Kemi Wright


Does this PD result in a qualification?
No, completion of all units from this professional development does not result in a formal qualification

Suicide and crisis support

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and need help, talk to someone now, call:

13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467

Beyond Blue
1300 22 4636

1800 650 890

On the line (Mensline Australia)
1300 789 978

1800 551 800

Q Life
1800 184 527

Blue Knot Helpline
1300 657 380


  • All accredited persons, regardless of any professional development completed/ attended must refer to their accreditation’s Scope of Practice/Standards, and only treat/practice within the same.  
  • ESSA confirms that at the date of release, this professional development meets the requirements of the ESSA Continuing Professional Development Points Guidelines. The information contained in this professional development is of a general nature only, and while every effort and care has been taken to ensure that all representations are accurate as at the date of its release, ESSA accepts no legal liability for any loss or damage suffered as a result of any information provided in this professional development. 
  • ESSA recommends that its members seek appropriate independent professional advice specific to their particular purposes and circumstances (including the provision of medical advice to patients) before relying on it. 
  • All professional development listed is correct at time of publication, and is subject to change at any time without notice.