Dr Sarah Olesen

BA Hons (Psych; UniMelb); PhD (Clinical Psychology; ANU)
Postdoctoral Fellow
ANU College of Health and Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Mental Health 111714
  • Epidemiology 111706
  • Public Health And Health Services 1117
  • Health Promotion 111712

Research interests

  • Mental health epidemiology
  • Mental health service use
  • Community and workforce participation and mental health
  • Health program evaluation
  • Research translation

Dr Olesen is a member of the Psychiatric Epidemiology and Social Issues team at the Centre for Mental Health Research. Her current and planned research aims to better understand people's use of health services in Australia, and the health outcomes of service use, particularly in the area of mental health. Dr Olesen is also involved in projects that investigate the relationships between community and workforce participation and mental health.

Dr Olesen uses large community and population surveys and epidemiological methods to address these research topics, as well as her knowledge of clinical and psychological models. By combining these perspectives, Dr Olesen seeks to produce research that provides informed, practical recommendations for policy and health-care settings.


Dr Olesen completed a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology/Criminology) with Honours degree at the University of Melbourne in 2003 before beginning a career in mental health research at The Australian National University. Since 2004 she has undertaken research projects on the topics of workforce and community participation, childhood adversity, and health service use, leading to published work in qualtiy academic journals. This included a PhD entitled: “The transition from work to retirement during later adulthood: Its relationship to mental health and role of alternative forms of participation”. Dr Olesen has completed specialised training in longitudinal data analyses and health program evaluation, and contributed to documents and forums that aim to translate research findings into policy and practice recommendations. She continues to undertake research that tackles current public health issues using methods that maximise the ability of this research to inform mental health service delivery.

Researcher's projects

Dr Olesen's research uses several community and epidemiological surveys to investigate the relationships between personal characteristics, service use, and environmental factors and changes in mental health. These surveys include

  • 1997 and 2007 National Surveys of Mental Health and Wellbeing in Australian (NSMHWB)
  • Household Income Labour and Dynamics in Australia survey (HILDA)
  • Personality and Total Health Through Life survey (PATH)
  • Canberra Bushfire Recovery Community Survey

Available student projects

Masters and PhD students who are considering projects in mental health epidemiology, particularly surrounding issues of participation and service use, are welcomed to contact Dr Olesen


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:  17 June 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers