Designing lifestyle interventions for common mental disorders: What can we learn from diabetes prevention programs?

Rachelle S. Opie*, Felice N. Jacka, Wolfgang Marx, Tetyana Rocks, Claire Young, Adrienne O’neil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Lifestyle factors including diet, sleep, physical activity, and substance use cessation, are recognised as treatment targets for common mental disorders (CMDs). As the field of lifestyle-based mental health care evolves towards effectiveness trials and real-world translation, it is timely to consider how such innovations can be integrated into clinical practice. This paper discusses the utility and scale-up of lifestyle interventions for CMDs and draws on diabetes prevention literature to identify enablers and barriers to translation efforts. We discuss the extent to which lifestyle interventions aimed at managing CMDs and preventing diabetes share commonalities (program content, theoretical underpinnings, program structures, interventionists, frameworks promoting fidelity, quality, sustainability). Specific considerations when utilising these programs for mental health in-clude personalising content with respect to symptoms and trajectories of depression and anxiety, medication regimen and genetic risk profile. As this field moves from efficacy to effectiveness and implementation, it is important to ensure issues in implementation science, including “voltage drop”, “program drift”, logistics, funding, and resourcing, are in line with evidence-based models that are effective in research settings. Ongoing considerations includes who is best placed to deliver this care and the need for models to support implementation including long-term financing, work-force training, supervision, stakeholder and organisational support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3766
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


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