The CALM Trial

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 based on well-established evidence for diet and exercise interventions as effective strategies for improving mental health symptoms and common associated physical health conditions.

Researchers at the Food and Mood Centre are currently recruiting people who live in the Barwon & surrounding regions (including Melbourne) for a clinical trial. Participants are randomly allocated into one of two programs: lifestyle medicine (targeting food and physical activity) or psychological (talking) therapy aimed at helping people reduce their depression. 

What does it involve?

      • 6 x 90-minute group-based mental health sessions delivered by trained health professionals over zoom
      • 2 x one-on-one interviews about your health and wellbeing over the phone
      • 2 x 60 minute visits to our testing centre (located on Ryrie Street in Geelong city – lockdown dependent) for those able to travel 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.

Further information: Email:, phone: 03 5227 3026 or visit: