In the pursuit of HARMON-E

Deakin University’s Food and Mood centre have partnered with the Department of General Practice and Primary Care, to facilitate patient recruitment through General Practice, into the HARMON-E clinical trial.

The HARMON-E Trial is a nationwide, clinical trial that aims to determine the effectiveness of a group-based lifestyle program for reducing depressive symptoms, compared to group-based psychotherapy. Participants are adults who have a diagnosis of either major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder and who may benefit from some support with healthy lifestyle choices. Participants will be selected to receive either six telehealth group-based sessions with psychologists or six sessions with dietitians and exercise physiologists.

It is estimated that 15% of Australians will experience major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder at some time in their lives. Of those who access treatment, 20–50% will not achieve symptom remission with standard therapies. There is now consistent and compelling top-tier efficacy data from controlled research settings that lifestyle interventions targeting diet, exercise, sleep and/or substance use can improve the symptoms of mental disorders.

Despite these significant advances and its enormous potential to alleviate the burden on GPs and psychological service providers, lifestyle-based mental health care is not available as part of mainstream mental health care. There are a range of complex reasons for the evidence–translation gap, one critical deficit is that almost no data exist from real world settings that compare effectiveness to standard care for individuals presenting to their GP with clinical depression.

It is hypothesised that changes in mental health symptom outcomes for participants in the lifestyle program will not be inferior to those in the psychotherapy program.

The DGPPC recruitment team will work to recruit patients into the HARMONE trial for the coming 12 months.

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If you are interested in finding out more about HARMON-E please contact:
Hayley Ivanusic on

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Hayley Ivanusic