Donate Deakin
Donate Recruitment Closed


Why is this important?
Over the past three years, the Barwon region and surrounding Geelong area has seen an increase in presentations to emergency for mental health concerns. Australians have seen a further deterioration in mental health since the outbreak of COVID-19, with almost 1 in 2 people experiencing depression during lockdown.

The Curbing Anxiety and Depression using Lifestyle Medicine (CALM) trial is a group-based, telehealth clinical trial designed to support positive lifestyle changes to improve mental health for adults who are experiencing psychological distress in this new COVID-19 context. CALM is based on well-established evidence for diet and exercise interventions as effective strategies for improving mental health symptoms and common associated physical health conditions.

How are we doing this study?
We are recruiting 184 people (18+) who live in the Barwon & surrounding regions (including Melbourne) to take part in this study. Participants are randomly allocated into one of two programs: lifestyle medicine (targeting food and physical activity) or psychological therapy. Each program is 8 weeks long and we will measure changes in mental health over this period and compare them between the two groups.

Participants are asked to:

  • Join six 90-minute mental health sessions via video call (Zoom) with a group of up to 11 other people (the same group each time)
  • Answer questions in 3 one-on-one interviews over the phone about your health and wellbeing
  • Make 2 visits to our testing centre (located on Ryrie Street in Geelong city) to have a blood test and body measures taken by a nurse and a member of our research team

What are we hoping to find?
The trial aims to determine whether a lifestyle-based approach to mental health care is as good as psychotherapy for reducing depression, anxiety and distress levels during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have now completed recruitment for this trial. 

This research project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Medical Research Future Fund – COVID-19 Mental Health Research Australian Government Department of Health (GA133346).