SEED’s Mental Health Care in Priority Populations stream works to better understand the impact of stress, adversity and trauma on people’s lives. We look for evidence-based ways to support healing and recovery, and optimise the mental health of people who have experienced significant life stress, adversity and trauma, including those associated with chronic health conditions.

Stress, adversity and trauma in people’s lives

Stress is a normal and expected part of everyday life. Some life events can be significant sources of stress such as moving house, having a baby, and changing or losing a job.

Many experiences in life can be challenging, complex and ongoing, with long-lasting impacts on daily life. There are many different types of adversity in life, such as financial hardship; being socially isolated and lonely; family conflict and separation; living with a chronic health condition; and caring for a child with a disability or chronic illness.

Some life experiences are potentially traumatic. These can include experiences of racism, family violence, child abuse, or having a life-threatening illness or experience.

Stress, adversity and trauma have the potential to impact people’s mental and physical health, relationships, education, employment and daily functioning across the life course.

How our research supports people who have experienced stress, adversity and trauma

SEED’s Mental Health Care in Priority Populations develops evidence-based approaches to supporting people who are experiencing or have experienced adversity and trauma in their lives. Our programs of research specifically focus on:

  • People living with a chronic health condition such as endometriosis, Crohn’s disease and cancer (Please see for more information about this research program)
  • Children and families affected by intergenerational trauma and social adversity such as family conflict and violence, and child maltreatment.

We conduct research to identify what disrupts pathways to poor mental health, and what optimises mental health in the face of adversity and traumatic experiences.

We develop and evaluate interventions and support to: (a) promote positive mental health and resilience, (b) reduce mental health difficulties, and promote healing and recovery, and (c) strengthen the capacity of health, education, justice and other settings to work in trauma- and shame-informed ways.

Lived experience matters to us. We work in partnership with people with lived experience of adversity and trauma to co-design and develop interventions and support that are acceptable and meaningful to them. We also work in close partnership with services, organisations, and advocacy groups to ensure that the interventions and supports can be implemented in real world settings.

Our aims


To identify how stress, adversity and trauma affect mental and physical health across the life course


To identify what disrupts pathways to poor mental health, and what optimises mental health in the face of adversity and traumatic experiences


To develop and trial new interventions to reduce mental and physical health difficulties and optimise mental health and quality of life


To investigate how to implement interventions into real-world settings.

Our leaders

Antonina Mikocka-Walus
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Subhadra Evans
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Rebecca Giallo
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