Community-based partnered research: new directions in mental health services research.
ABSTRACT Community-based participatory research has the potential to improve implementation of best practices to reduce disparities but has seldom been applied in mental health services research. This article presents the content and lessons learned from a national conference designed to stimulate such an application.
Mental health program developers collaborated in hosting a two-day conference that included plenary and break-out sessions, sharing approaches to community-academic partnership development, and preliminary findings from partnered research studies. Sessions were audiotaped, transcribed and analyzed by teams of academic and community conference participants to identify themes about best practices, challenges faced in partnered research, and recommendations for development of the field. Themes were illustrated with selections from project descriptions at the conference.
Participants, representing 9 academic institutions and 12 community-based agencies from four US census regions, were academic and community partners from five research centers funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, and also included staff from federal and non-profit funding agencies.
Five themes emerged: 1) Partnership Building; 2) Implementing and Supporting Partnered Research; 3) Developing Creative Dissemination Strategies; 4) Evaluating Impact; and 5) Training.
Emerging knowledge of the factors in the partnership process can enhance uptake of new interventions in mental health services. Conference proceedings suggested that further development of this field may hold promise for improved approaches to address the mental health services quality chasm and service disparities.