SEED’s intervention sciences research theme develops, evaluates and disseminates programs that support educational engagement, and positive social and emotional development. We also work to reduce triggers for the development of mental health problems and improve treatments for mental disorders.

Effective support programs can reduce long-term emotional, social, educational and mental health problems

Demand on mental health services is growing explosively. Mental disorders like anxiety and depression are a leading cause of disease in Australia and worldwide.

Early difficulties with social, emotional or behavioural skills have long-term impacts across the lifecourse. Programs that support these skills prevent the development of mental disorders, and also reduce other problems such as school disengagement and family violence.

Understanding the lifecourse is key to knowing when we can intervene to ensure healthy development. It can also tell us how to promote wellbeing, by understanding the developmental origins and key transitions that affect mental health and disorders, within and across generations, in large populations.

Effective lifecourse interventions that prevent or treat mental disorders and related social problems will make Australians happier and healthier. Intervening earlier in the lifecourse can reduce the demand on services and save government funds.

How we develop, evaluate and share lifecourse interventions

The SEED intervention sciences research team develops, evaluates and disseminates interventions that support positive social and emotional development from conception through to adulthood and old age.

Our intervention development is guided by SEED’s lifecourse studies, intervention sciences and mental health research. This allows us to target factors that matter most, like key stages of development or priority populations.

We evaluate interventions by leading randomised controlled trials. We also review the quality and quantity of research evidence available for interventions by supporting systematic reviews of population-based interventions.

Interventions are only effective if people access them. We lead the development of frameworks and co-designed programs that help bring effective interventions into government, community and education systems.

We have broad engagement with key health service providers across rural and regional Victoria, including place-based intervention programs in the Greater Shepparton, Greater Bendigo and North Central regions of Victoria.

Our purpose


Conduct and enable randomised controlled trials of interventions that target risk and protective factors identified as seminal by our research in lifecourse sciences.


Develop and maintain SEED POD, a ‘menu of services’ that lists effective interventions that prevent of mental disorders, while promoting emotional health and social engagement.


Use a community-based participatory research framework to co-develop, test, and effectively disseminate interventions, particularly at a population level.

Our leaders

Elizabeth Westrupp
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John Toumbourou
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Alex Bahar-Fuchs
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Flagship Projects