Mental disorders are a leading cause of disease worldwide. Despite growing awareness and investment, rates of mental disorders aren’t slowing down.

Without effective prevention, demand for mental health services may soon exceed the level of support they can give.

SEED digs into the root causes of common mental disorders like depression, anxiety, addictions and violence. But we believe preventing mental disorders isn’t enough. We also work to promote wellbeing.

SEED is the only research program of its kind across Australia with a focus on promoting mental health and preventing mental disorders from early childhood to adulthood and into the next generation.

Our mission

SEED conducts world-leading research on the developmental origins on mental health and disorders. We bring together lifecourse, clinical and public health research and practice to:

  • describe the major milestones in emotional life
  • understand how our social and emotional development early in life impacts on our mental health and wellbeing across the lifespan
  • advise on the most effective approaches to intervening at the earliest opportunities in troubled pathways
  • engage systems for translating this knowledge broadly.

“It is not enough to focus on preventing mental disorders. In a rapidly changing world, we also need to promote resilience and compassion.”

Who are we?

SEED sprouts from Deakin University’s School of Psychology.

Our researchers and research students specialise in preventive mental health care and clinical treatment of mental health problems. Many of our members are registered psychologists. All researchers have extensive knowledge about social and emotional development.

The breadth of our expertise helps us address the complex challenges of promoting mental health and preventing mental disorders.

Our team has published over 2500 peer-reviewed articles, which have been cited over 60,000 times in the scientific literature and in over 400 policy documents worldwide since 2014.

Our Director

Professor Craig Olsson has led SEED since it was founded in 2014. He is a developmental psychologist and lifecourse epidemiologist.

Professor Olsson works to map the major milestones in social and emotional development from infancy to adulthood and into the next generation.

Under his leadership, SEED uses this atlas of human development to design targeted mental health interventions for both clinical and public health settings.

Professor Olsson is National Convenor of the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth Longitudinal Studies Network. He leads one of Australia’s longest-running studies of social and emotional development.

Learn more about Professor Craig Olsson.

At its core, SEED is about bringing research to life in communities in ways that promote a healthy emotional life

Want to get involved?

Our research themes

Lifecourse sciences

Understanding the developmental origins of mental health and disorders

Intervention sciences

Designing programs to promote emotional security and social connection

Social Neuro and Molecular Sciences

Understanding the developing and aging brain

Data sciences

Making data accessible

Systematic reviews

Synthesising evidence on effective mental health interventions

Our research streams

Public mental health care

Preventing mental disorders and promoting emotional health in the general population

Mental health care in priority populations

Preventing mental disorders and promoting emotional health in priority populations

Clinical mental health care

Preventing mental disorders and promoting emotional health in clinical populations

Our partners

SEED has strong national and international networks of collaborators who work with us on jointly funded research, data analysis and research publications.

We partner with

Health providers
Education providers
Research organisations

Key international collaborations

Key national collaborations

Want to collaborate with us? Get in touch