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The Australian National University

Dr Alison Calear

BAppPsych (Hons), PhD
NHMRC Fellow
ANU College of Health and Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Mental Health 111714
  • Other Psychology And Cognitive Sciences 1799

Research interests

  • Youth mental health
  • e-mental health
  • Prevention and early intervention of anxiety, depression and suicide
  • Help-seeking behaviour 
  • Stigma and literacy


Alison Calear is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Mental Health Research working in the areas of youth mental health, e-health and the prevention and early intervention of anxiety, depression and suicide. Alison heads the Prevention, Promotion and Educational Systems research unit and is currently leading an evaluation of the Sources of Strength suicide peer leadership program in Australian schools.

Researcher's projects

Sources of Strength Australia

Youth suicide is a significant public health problem. In 2011, suicide was the leading cause of death in young Australians aged 15- 24 years. The prevalence of youth suicide, and the significant burden associated with it, has given rise to the development of a range of interventions aimed at the prevention of suicidal behaviour and the promotion of help-seeking and early identification for suicide in young people. The need to promote and assist help-seeking behaviour among youth is critical, as young people often do not seek or receive help for suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

The universal Sources of Strength peer leadership program takes a social connectedness approach to improving help-seeking for suicide and general psychological distress. This program is designed to build socioecological protective influences across an entire school student population and focuses on enhancing help-seeking norms, youth-adult communication, and coping skills to promote help-seeking.

The Sources of Strength program has been evaluated in a randomised controlled trial of 18 high schools, 453 peer leaders and 2,675 students located in the US, with consistent evidence of a positive intervention effect on the norms, attitudes and behaviour of both peer leaders and the wider student population.

The present project is a large trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the evidence-based Sources of Strength program in Australian schools. The need to implement and evaluate suicide prevention programs in Australian schools is high, given a recent review of 43 school-based suicide prevention studies only identified one gatekeeper trial in Australia, with a second indicated trial underway. 16 schools from the ACT and NSW will be recruited to participate in this trial.

Silence is Deadly evaluation

The Menslink’s Silence is Deadly campaign is in its fifth year with students in over 50 schools receiving its valuable messages. Menslink visit schools to talk to boys of all ages about the hassles of life and make sure they: talk to their friends about issues in their life, assist friends if they’re going through tough times, and get professional help if they need it. A randomised controlled trial will be conducted to in the ACT region (approx. 800 students) to evaluate the effect of the Silence is Deadly program on help-seeking attitudes, intentions and behaviour.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  13 November 2018 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers