Research projects

The fish oil youth depression pilot study – A randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial

Principal researcher

Associate Professor G. Paul Amminger
Professor Anthony Jorm
Professor Patrick McGorry
Professor Andrew Mackinnon


Orygen Youth Health Research Centre



Award type

National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year


Main messages

  • One hundred thirty eight young people were approached for study participation, 90 (65.2%) of those consented and 48 refused consent.
  • Two thirds of eligible young people consented to the trial; those 68 young people were enrolled in the pilot trial.
  • More than 80% of the sample completed the 12-week intervention period.
    At the 12-week follow-up, only 25% of participants still reported clinically relevant (moderate or severe) depressive symptoms while 75% of participants were found to have improved clinical symptoms.
  • No participant discontinued the trial because of an adverse event
    A randomised controlled trial of omega-3 PUFAs was found to be feasible to be run within headspace centres within existing clinical infrastructure.
  • By enrolling 5 participants per month, the researchers were able to show that the recruitment capacity at two headspace centres was sufficient for the trial.
  • The findings of this pilot trial indicate a high level of acceptability for omega-3 PUFAs plus cognitive-behavioural case management as first line treatment for major depression in the youth.

Download The fish oil youth depression pilot study final report.

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