With research and evidence-based practice being critical to the success of service delivery, it is essential that we build a research agenda for the NGO sector. Research into community based practice needs to be enhanced, promoted and valued. This is fundamental to support the growth and maturing of the NGO sector. To achieve this we need to increase the capacity of our member agencies to engage in research and contribute to evidence-based practices. Additionally, there is an increasing awareness of the incidence of coexisting mental health and drug and alcohol problems and other related problems. These include poor treatment outcomes and higher levels of disability. There is limited research on effective interventions for this group. The aim therefore of the NGO Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Research Network is to build the capacity of non-government mental health and drug & alcohol services to engage in research and develop more strategic and long term relationships with researchers.
The research network, which includes a seeding grants scheme, is an important initiative in fostering and enabling engagement of the NGO sector in research and supporting the dissemination of research into practice. The network is in its early stages and is open to all organisations in both the non-government mental health and drug and alcohol sectors. This ensures that the large majority of services within both sectors that currently do not have the capacity to participate in research are also engaged, building upon the NSW Health Comorbidity Framework for Action priority area Workforce planning and development.
The network, once fully established, will involve a range of activities that could include: Information and education sessions, workshops, forums, electronic exchange mechanisms and other activities aimed at building the capacity of the sectors to undertake research. A variety of research bodies and researchers will be engaged to assist in building a sustainable network. The network will facilitate the development of a culture of research by providing opportunities and promoting exchange of ideas, sharing of resources, and support and collaboration between NGOs.
Outcomes of the NGO Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Research Network will be:
A suite of workshops and forums held throughout the life of the project to foster skill development and promote a culture of research across the sectors, and support the translation of research into policy and practice
Metropolitan and regional networking activities to support and promote practitioner and novice researchers across the NGO mental health and drug & alcohol sectors.
Development of web based resources and email discussion group, to foster skill development, information exchange and resource sharing to enhance research activity by practitioner researchers
Increased confidence and capability of clinicians and workers in formulating research applications resulting in an increase in applications seeking research funding
Increased industry based research, evaluation and development.
Establishment of cross sector collaborations and partnerships to build the evidence base for mental health and drug and alcohol community based practice
An established community of researchers within services across the mental health and D&A sectors to build on existing relationships between services, researchers and research institutions.
For further information, contact Deb Tipper email@example.com
Find out more about the network, click here to visit the dedicated CMHDARN website.
Stigma & Discrimination Reflective Forum - If you missed this - you can still view it!
The first CMHDARN Reflective Practice forum was held in late July. We were fortunate to have NDARC Senior Lecturer and NMHRC Research Fellow and CMHDARN Reference group member, Katherine Mills to facilitate this first ever CMHDARN REFLECTIVE PRACTICE WEBINAR!! Tune in to hear Annie Madden from Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) and Frank Quinlan from Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) talk about the research work their organisations have undertaken around stigma and discrimination. If you missed this – the webinar can be viewed here
Manual on writing for publication produced by Kate Dolan (NDARC)
Peer review: A guide for researchers
This new guide provides researchers with an understanding of how peer review works and highlights some of the issues surround the current debates about the peer review process.
Research News email update
For further information, contact Deb Tipper firstname.lastname@example.org
NGO Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Research Grants Program
The Research Grants Program has been an exciting opportunity for NGOs to undertake research that is relevant to their work with people with mental health and drug and alcohol problems. The main aim of the Research Grants Program is to engage non government mental health organisations and non government drug and alcohol organisations in research that will result in improved services and outcomes for people with mental health and drug and alcohol issues. The Program has had the additional aim of increasing the capacity of mental health and drug and alcohol NGOs to undertake research.
The NGO Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Research Grants Program is funded by NSW Health. The grants are being 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 are 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 is 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
The research grants project builds NGO capacity in undertaking research by providing an opportunity for collaboration and learning between NGOs with their research partners. For NGOs it is 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 is an opportunity to understand how NGOs operate and to plan and undertake research from a social perspective. Already important lessons for NGOs in undertaking research are emerging from the projects and these will be made available to both sectors.
Additionally the research grants project is providing a unique opportunity for collaboration between mental health and drug and alcohol community organisations. MHCC and NADA are running workshops for the funded organisations and their research partners. This is an important step in fostering the development of a research community across the two sectors.