Dr Alyssa Morse

B Psych (Hons), AMusA, PhD
Research Fellow
ANU College of Health and Medicine
T: (02) 6125 6167

Areas of expertise

  • Mental Health 111714

Research interests

  • Improving lived experience involvement in research, health services and health policy 
  • Prevention and promotion in youth mental health
  • Mental health service evaluation and design


Alyssa is a lived experience researcher at the Centre for Mental Health Research, where she commenced her Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 2022. Her Fellowship project aims to establish the feasibility and effectiveness of the Safe Haven services in South Western Sydney LHD as a genuine alternative to the emergency department for people experiencing suicidal crisis. 

Researcher's projects

Current Projects

Safe Haven Café evaluation: Effectiveness and feasibility of an innovative, co-designed, NSW Premier’s Priority alternative to the emergency department (SPA Post-Doctoral Fellowship)

The proposed research will establish the feasibility and effectiveness of the South Western Sydney LHD Safe Havens as a genuine alternative for people experiencing suicidal crisis or distress who would usually present to the ED or choose not to access the ED due to past negative experiences. Emphasis will be placed on the experiences of Safe Haven guests and peer workers, the value of the service for them, and its impact on organisational culture in the local health system. 

We live in our own world: Exploring and prioritising the experiences and care needs of young people who support a sibling with mental illness 

This project aims to improve our understanding of the support needs of young people young caring for a sibling with mental illness, and to develop high priority targets for research aiming to address those needs. I will engage with young people aged 18-25 from across Australia through focus groups and surveys to explore their experiences and perspectives and identify key areas of need with the best potential for real-world impact. To best support young people, it is crucial to develop an understanding of the sibling experience from their own perspective.

This project is funded by the ALIVE Next Generation Researcher Network 2022 Seed Funding Scheme.

Understanding Participation: Measuring the value and impact of consumer and carer voices in services and policy

How do we effectively include people with lived experience in the research process? Are their voices being heard and integrated at the level of health policy and services? And how are they valued by the people who are listening? The Understanding Participation project is being conducted in partnership with a working group of representatives from Health Care Consumers’ Association (HCCA), The ACT Mental Health Consumer Network (ACTMHCN), Carers ACT, the ACT Health Directorate, and independent consumer and carer representatives from the ACACIA Advisory Group. Using grounded theory methods, the project aims to understand the current nature of consumer and carer participation in the Australian Capital Territory and to explore the concept and meaning of value in this context. The ultimate goal of the project is to create a set of consumer- and carer-developed principles for participation, value and impact, and an accompanying set of indicators to be used by the health sector for measurement. 

This project was funded by an RSPH Excellence in Population Health Research Award.

Past Projects

My Mind, My Voice Evaluation

Mental Illness Education ACT is undertaking a project that will increase awareness of mental illness and empower vulnerable communities to actively pursue greater well-being and mental wellness, through a co-designed and peer led educational outreach initiative: My Mind, My Voice. Our research team will lead the co-production of the program logic and evaluation tools for the project, analyse internally collected evaluation data, and conduct a brief, idependent qualitative investigation of the experiences of key stakeholders.

Mental Health and Me Evaluation

Mental Health and Me has been running in the ACT for over 25 years. Delivered by Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT), the youth mental health promotion program combines lived experience stories with evidence-based content to address stigma and promote help seeking. In 2020, our research team conducted an independent impact evaluation of Mental Health and Me, validating and contributing to MIEACT’s ongoing evaluation practices. The central role of lived experience was a key strength of the program, and educators’ openness with their personal stories was valued and enjoyed. Students and school staff reported that the program delivered its intended impacts on stigma and help seeking, and additionally improved mental health literacy.

Whose story is it?

This project explored mental health consumer and carer perspectives on procedural research ethics and shared story-telling in research settings. The project had a particular focus on mental health research involving carers and stories of their lived experience. A discussion forum and in-depth interviews with consumers, carers and lived-experience researchers from the ACT were conducted and analysed to explore these issues. The next stage of the project will use the findings from this data to develop practice recommendations for researchers and Human Research Ethics Committees.

Silence is Deadly (Trial Manager)

Young men are consistently less likely to seek help for mental health problems than their female peers.This  controlled mixed-methods trial aimed to determine the effectiveness of the Silence is Deadly program in increasing positive help-seeking intentions for mental health problems and suicide among male secondary school students. A two-arm controlled trial was conducted with 10 schools in the Australian Capital Territory. A total of 594 male adolescents aged between 16 and 18 years participated in the study. At follow-up, the Silence is Deadly program was found to significantly increase help-seeking intentions from friends, which was in line with the program’s messaging to seek help from and provide support to friends in times of distress or suicide risk.

Current student projects

PhD Students - Primary Supervisor

Dianna Smith: Learning, connection, opportunity, hope: Can Recovery Colleges raise people's expectations of their recovery?

Masters Students

Sarah Brocklehurst: Investigating technology-based distal interventions for postpartum depression and anxiety

Past student projects

Honours Students

Rebecca Wain: Male Gender-Linked Generational Effect on Mental Health Help-seeking in Young Adult Males 

Sarah Passmore: The experiences of and perceived barriers to primary health care accessibility for Australian LGBTQ+ people. 

Masters Students

Aisha Abdelhai, Aiden Brumby, Hai Nam Pham: Qualitative evaluation of a youth mental health stigma reduction program: Lived experience educator and staff member perspectives.


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Updated:  22 April 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers