The PULSAR (Principles Unite Local Services Assisting Recovery) project was a training and research project funded by the Victorian State Government's Mental Illness Research Fund (MIRF). The project tested a practical approach to address the vital issue of how different types of services within a defined geographical area can be refocused to support recovery. It was expected to shed light on how clinical mental health, primary care and community support services can collaborate effectively and support people using mental health services to achieve their personal recovery goals.

Key findings from the Primary Care PULSAR study were published in a paper in Frontiers in Psychiatry in March 2021.

Key findings from the Secondary Care PULSAR study were published in a paper in The Lancet Psychiatry in February 2019.


The summary of the Research in Context section of this paper was:

‘Training health-care workers to deliver recovery-oriented care using the REFOCUS materials developed over time and adapted to local settings can positively affect the process of personal recovery for consumers.’

This research supported recovery-oriented practice involving community mental health services, primary care and the community managed sector. In the project we adapted a range of existing materials for the Australian setting so that the content and processes of training and development are sensitive to needs of the Victorian mental health care system, the local cultural and legal contexts. We used materials developed by our research partners in London, UK, and materials we have developed in Australia for similar work in the primary care sector. The modification for Primary Care also drew on work from Monash University in the development of recovery-oriented treatment plans, a project commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of health and Ageing and the Royal Australian College of general Practitioners. We delivered these interventions and evaluated the process in a carefully designed trial format. The aim of the work was to develop, evaluate, and make readily available a set of training materials and organisational change tools that would facilitate all these services to work together to successfully deliver recovery-oriented practice.

The findings were endorsed by a positive commentary published in the same Lancet issue - Rogers, E. S. (2019). Recovery-oriented practices need innovative research. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(2), 82–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30476-0 - and a blog post on the Mental Elf, which reached thousands on Twitter (79,000 followers): https://www.nationalelfservice.net/mental-health/refocus-pulsar-recovery-training-in-specialist-mental-health-care/

PULSAR publications

PULSAR manuals

PULSAR manual for Secondary Care.

PULSAR manual for Primary Care.

PULSAReveryday Personal Recovery Workbook.

Contributions to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

The PULSAR team, in formal submissions and invited witness statements to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, recommended that the Victorian government invest in recovery-oriented practice training using the now evidence based PULSAR training. We also recommend that the government invest in high quality research in Victoria that has the potential for such high impact and translation into practice, such as PULSAR.

Direct Care/Support Delivery participants

Agencies and people involved in the support of people with a mental illness who were associated with the PULSAR Recovery project include:

The direct care participants are also key research participants in the project.

PULSAR Research team, partners and contributors

Original Project Investigators

Named investigators on the application with their affiliation at the time (which in many cases has now changed):

Prof. Graham Meadows Principal Investigator: Southern Synergy (Adult Psychiatry Research, Training and Evaluation Centre), School of Psychiatry, Monash University
Mr Umit Agis Director, Adult Mental Health Services, Southern Health
Adj Associate Prof. Jakqui Barnfield Director of Nursing Mental Health, Southern Health
Dr. Joanne Brooker Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University
Dr. Lisa Brophy Director of Research, Mind Australia
Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Health Policy, Programs and Economics,
Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne
Prof. David Clarke Professor, School of Psychology and Psychiatry Head, Discipline of Psychiatry (Acting)
Deputy Head of School (Acting)
Clinical Director, Community, Access & Partnerships, Mental Health Program, Southern Health
Ms Vrinda Edan Director Consumer and Carer Relations, Southern Health
Dr. Ellie Fossey Senior Lecturer - Higher Degrees Research and Postgraduate Courses Coordinator, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University
Dr. Margaret Grigg General Manager Research, Development and Advocacy, Mind Australia
Prof. Brett Inder Professor, Department of Econometrics, Monash University
Mr John Julian Southern Synergy, School of Psychiatry, Research Fellow and Senior Trainer, SPLASH, Monash University
Dr Ritsuko Kakuma Senior Research Fellow, Centre for International Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population Health, The University of Melbourne
Prof. Danielle Mazza Head, Department of General Practice, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University.
Associate Prof. Iraklis Harry Minas Director, Centre for International Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population Health, 
The University of Melbourne
Prof. Brendan Murphy Unit Head, Youth Mental Health, Early in life Mental Health Service (ELMHS)
Prof. Grant Russell Head of School of Primary Health Care
Professor of General Practice Research, Monash University
Prof. Mike Slade Professor of Health Services Research
Consultant Clinical Psychologist, London REFOCUS team
Ms Christine Thornton-Gaylard Director Service Development, Eastern Regions Mental Health Association (ERMHA)
Dr. Penelope Weller Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University, Melbourne
Dr. Elisabeth Wilson-Evered Associate Professor, School of Management and Information Systems, Faculty of Business and Law, Victoria University

If you are not listed here and feel you have contributed to the PULSAR project please contact us e: pulsar.admin@monash.edu

PULSAR Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP)

We acknowledge the contribution of the following people to our LEAP: Vrinda Edan (Chair), Ellie Fossey (co-chair), Salome Argyropoulos, Katrina Clarke, Priscilla Ennals, Michelle Kehoe, Julien McDonald, Peter McKenzie, Wendy Muller, Joanne Sheedy, Michael Sillekens and Lorelle Zemunik.

Project Staff

We acknowledge the work of the following contributors to the PULSAR project:

PULSAR research staff: Dr Frances Shawyer, Dr Joanne Enticott, Ms Annie Bruxner, Ms Kimberly Buck, Dr Lisa Chaffey, Ms Michelle Kehoe, Dr Mehmet Özmen, Dr Shiva Vasi.

PULSAR fieldwork staff: Mr Jaspal Bhogal, Ms Jennifer Bibb, Ms Zelal Bircan, Ms Kimberly Buck, Dr Lisa Chaffey, Ms Angela Chen, Ms Sharon Clifford, Mr Andrew Davis, Ms Jessie Fay, Ms Leanne Gordon, Ms Annemarie Hindle, Ms Jackie Jenkins, Ms Maria Katergaris, Ms Michelle Kehoe, Ms So-An Lao, Ms Milsa Kamusoko, Mr Julian Matthews, Ms Valentinna Mehdizadeh, Mr Tony Mowbray, Ms Sarah Mumford, Ms Kristi-Ann Villagonzalo, Ms Lorelle Zemunick.

PULSAR trainers: Ms Leonie Davey, Mr Richard Kasperczyk, Ms Michelle Kehoe, Ms Nita Mahbubani, Ms Lisa Reed, and Ms Zoe Smith.

PULSAR administration staff: Ms Sharon Clifford, Ms Debbie Lang and Ms Rachel Rodrigues.

Following the trial, Michelle Kehoe, Nita Mahbubani and Graham Meadows also supported the further development of the training materials for the purpose of dissemination, including train-the-trainer.


Student Associates: Jeremy Lim & Bill Nguyen.

International Advisors - REFOCUS team

Dr Victoria Bird, Dr Mary Leamy, and other members of the REFOCUS team.

PULSAR training is based on an adaptation of a set of training materials and organisational change techniques first used in the UK Refocus program and we acknowledge this lineage. The following groups and people contributed to discussions or commented upon drafts of the original Refocus Manual produced at Kings College in London by the Refocus team:

REFOCUS steering group: Tony Coggins, Tom Craig, Joanna Fox, John Larsen, Morven Leese, Paul McCrone, Rachel Perera, Vanessa Pinfold, Shula Ramon, Zoe Reed, Gabrielle Richards, Guy Saward, Geoff Shepherd, Jerry Tew, Graham Thornicroft

REFOCUS International Advisory Board: Simon Bradstreet, Larry Davidson, Courtney Harding, Mark Hayward, Marianne Farkas, Lindsay Oades, Tom O’Brien, Glenn Roberts

Psychosis CAG: Fran Bristow, Philippa Garety, Fiona Gaughran, Patrick Gillespie, Lou Hellard, Phillip McGuire, Ros Ramsey

2gether local steering group: Raj Choudhury, Nathan Gregory, Jane Melton, Rob MacPherson, Mathew Page, Genevieve Riley, Andrew Telford


REFOCUS Virtual Advisory Black and Minority Ethnic panel.

Management and advisory structure

The PULSAR project developed a module based approach to undertaking the work, supported by an advisory structure to manage and guide its development.

Project Steering Group


Graham Meadows, Christine Thornton, Jakqui Barnfield, Margaret Grigg, Vrinda Edan.

Graham Meadows (Chair), Vrinda Edan, Jakqui Barnfield, Christine Thornton, Glen Prewett, Margaret Grigg.

Graham Meadows (Chair), Vrinda Edan, George Osman, Alys Boase, Glen Prewett, Margaret Grigg.


Graham Meadows (Chair), Vrinda Edan, Hugo Steinbergs, Alys Boase, George Osman, Shane Price.

Graham Meadows (Chair), Lisa Brophy, Vrinda Edan, Hugo Steinbergs, Alys Boase, Paula Hakesley, Shane Price, Frances Shawyer, Joanne Enticott, Graham Meadows, David Clarke, Michael Harrison.


Module structure

PULSAR project was managed through a project steering group (Chair: Prof Graham Meadows), and Project Management Office managed by Professor Meadows. Each of the 4 modules has a task group and chairperson.

The module task groups and chairs are:

  • Adaptation Module (Chair's: John Julian, Christine Thornton & Graham Meadows)
  • Implementation Module (Chair: Penny Weller)
  • Research module (Chair: Lisa Brophy)
  • Dissemination module (Chair: Vrinda Edan)

Current Dissemination task group

Members of the PULSAR team are continuing to meet and engage in dissemination activities. Current members with affiliations are:


Prof Lisa Brophy

Professor and Discipline Lead in Social Work and Social Policy, La Trobe University; Honorary principal research fellow, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne.

Regular group members

Ms Vrinda Edan

PhD Candidate, Consumer Academic, Medicine, Dentistry and Health sciences, The University of Melbourne

Dr Joanne Enticott

Senior Research Fellow, Biostatistician, Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation; Southern Synergy, Department of Psychiatry, Monash University

Prof Ellie Fossey

Professor, Head of Department and Graduate Research Co-ordinator, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University;

Adjunct Professor, Living with Disability Research Centre, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University

Prof Graham Meadows

Adjunct Professor, Schools of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health and of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University; Director, Southern Synergy, Monash University; Honorary Professor, Centre for Mental Health, School of Global and Population Health, University of Melbourne; Consultant Psychiatrist, Monash Health

Dr Frances Shawyer

Deputy Director, Southern Synergy, Department of Psychiatry, Monash University

Prof Penny Weller

Professor, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT

Prof Elisabeth Wilson-Evered

Professor, Institute of Health and Sport, Sport Business Insights Research Group

Mental Health and Physical Activity Research Group, Victoria University

Other participants

Brett Inder

Professor and Deputy Head, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics, Monash University


Ritz Kakuma

Associate Professor in Global Mental Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom


Danielle Mazza

Professor and Head, Department of General Practice,

School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University


David Clarke

Program Director Mental Health, Monash Health


Grant Russell

Professor of Primary Care Research, Department of General Practice; Director Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit, Monash University

We have only listed names of those who have given permission to be included. If you are not listed here and feel you have contributed to the PULSAR project please contact us e: pulsar.admin@monash.edu


CALD newsletters:

PULSAR Newsletters

"PULSAR study on the cross-cultural relevance of a mental health recovery questionnaire (the QPR) - Executive summary"

Click here to download the summary (pdf.113 KB)

Contact for PULSAR project:

Phone: + 61 3 9902 9696
Email: pulsar.admin@monash.edu