NGO Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Research Grants Program
The Research Grants Program was an exciting opportunity for NGOs to undertake research relevant to their work with people with mental health and drug and alcohol problems. There were two aims:
- The main aim of the program was to engage non government mental health and drug and alcohol organisations in research projects that would result in improved services and outcomes for people with mental health and drug and alcohol issues.
- An additional aim sought an increase in the capacity of mental health and drug and alcohol NGOs to undertake research.
The NGO Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Research Grants Program was funded by NSW Health, with the grants administered by the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) and the Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA). MHCC conducted 3 rounds to allocate approximately $1.3 million of funding.
A total of 10 projects were funded by MHCC. Agencies, alone or in consortia with other NGOs, undertook the research in partnership with university research partners. The funded projects were an important initiative in contributing to evidence from a practice base and in developing recognition and valuing of the work undertaken by NGOs, and fostering the development of a research culture amongst NGOs. A key aspect of the grants program was the dissemination of the research findings back to the sector and a conference open to both sectors showcasing the research was held in December 2010.
The projects funded were diverse in nature, investigating different aspects of mental health and drug and alcohol problems and service delivery responses.
- Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow for Young People with Co-morbidity: A Retrospective on the Richmond Fellowship NSW Young Peoples' Program
- Illness perceptions, attitudes to substance use and medication adherence. How are these linked with, and what is the rate of, substance abuse in people with a mental illness in two Sydney mental health NGOs - Aftercare, New Horizons and UNSW
- Needs of Residents in Unlicensed Boarding Houses - BCS, UOW
- Exploring the needs of Aboriginal women with co-morbid drug and alcohol and mental health problems - South Coast Medical Service Aboriginal Corporation, USYD
Building Capacity and Collaboration
NGO capacity to undertake research was developed through the opportunity for collaboration and learning between NGOs with their research partners. For NGOs it was an opportunity to lead and determine what is valuable to research from their perspective and to access the research expertise of the research partners. For the research partners it was an opportunity to understand how NGOs operate and to plan and undertake research from a social perspective.
Additionally the research grants project is provided a unique opportunity for collaboration between mental health and drug and alcohol community organisations. MHCC and NADA offered workshops for the funded organisations and their research partners as an important step in fostering the development of a research community across the two sectors.