Donate Deakin
Not currently recruiting


Study importance

The Curbing Anxiety and Depression using Lifestyle Medicine (CALM) trial was a group-based, telehealth clinical trial designed to support positive lifestyle changes to improve mental health for adults who are experiencing psychological distress. 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 the study was conducted
We aimed to recruit 184 people (18+) who live in the Barwon & surrounding regions (including Melbourne) to take part in the study. Participants were randomly allocated into one of two programs: lifestyle medicine (targeting food and physical activity) or psychological therapy. Each program was 8 weeks long and we measured changes in mental health over this period and compared them between the two groups.

Participants were 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 their 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. We hope to publish the results of the study soon. 

This research project was 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).