WP02 - Capacity building in mental health systems research

Objectives

This work package focuses on the priority areas of capacity-building to support mental health system strengthening, guided by the principles of appropriateness, reciprocity and sustainability. The specific objectives are to:

  • Implement, extend and evaluate models of best practice in development of mental health systems and research capacity in low and middle-income countries.
  • Pioneer innovative strategies to engage and equip policy-makers and planners to maximise evidence-based planning and decision-making for general and mental health system strengthening;
  • Empower, equip and facilitate the involvement of service users and their caregivers to support mental health system strengthening.
Distribution of nurse-led psychiatric units around the country (Ethiopia)
Ethiopia: Distribution of nurse-led psychiatric units around the country (Ethiopia); Copyright: Addis Ababa University

Work package Description

Task 1 (Month 01-60): Processes in mental health systems research and systems capacity-building

  • Carry out a formal and systematic situational analysis of mental health systems research capacity for each country site partner in order to generate a needs profile of transferrable research skills that will be matched to a tailored set of learning opportunities across the life of the project.
  • Conduct a needs assessment for policy-makers / planners in the area of health system strengthening
  • Conduct a needs assessment of service user organisations with a view to enhancing participation in mental health system strengthening
  • Agree on indicators for success of the capacity-building programme based on the existing evidence base
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of recommended selected indicators by comparing with a qualitative evaluation of the success of the overall programme.
Community sensitisation event linked to the Ethiopia: Butajira Course and Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders study
Community sensitisation event linked to the Ethiopia: Butajira Course and Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders study; Copyright: Addis Ababa University

Task 2 (Month 06-60): Building up mental health systems research capacity

  • Develop short courses in mental health service and systems research aimed at equipping researchers with adequate skills to undertake policy- and system-relevant research in the field of mental health. The focus will be on generalizable health system research skills, as well as specific challenges faced by services responding to the needs of persons with mental illness, non-communicable diseases and chronic illness (including HIV/AIDS).
  • Train and mentor trainers from each LAMIC partner to be able to deliver this course in-country.
  • Develop Masters level training opportunities so that each Emerald country partner has access even if unable to host such a programme in-country. During the first year of Emerald, a two day meeting linked to the annual meeting will be used to map out existing Masters curricula across Emerald countries and plan for development and expansion of Masters level training that will support mental health system strengthening across sub-Saharan Africa and the South Asia region. Content will include: mental health system research, prevention and promotion, participatory research with service users and caregivers.
  • Build up existing PhD programmes in mental health within the partner institutions through inclusion of competitive PhD fellowships, cross-country co-supervision of PhD candidates whose research will contribute to the aims of Emerald, and mentoring of PhD faculty. PhD fellowship proposals will be evaluated and awarded by the Emerald management group. The PhD research projects will be based on Emerald research activities.

Task 3 (Month 01-60): Enhancing skills in policy-makers, planners and service users and caregivers

  • Develop a short course on health system strengthening using mental health as a case study, which is practical in orientation and focused on equipping policy-makers and planners with generalizable skills that will facilitate evidence-based decision-making and planning. The course will include piloting of the OneHealth costing tool, governance and accountability, health information systems, monitoring and evaluation of scale-up using appropriate mental health system indicators, involvement of service users and caregivers, skill-development in critical appraisal of research findings and awareness-raising in regard to sources of evidence-based health system and service recommendations.
  • Provide tailored training to service user and caregiver groups to enhance their capacity to contribute.
  • Support in-country efforts to expand the base of service users / caregivers involved in advocacy organisations.
Ethiopia: Community sensitisation event linked to the Butajira Course and Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders stud
Ethiopia: Community sensitisation event linked to the Butajira Course and Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders study; Copyright: AAU Ethiopia