Our Research

The Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group has recently led or contributed to the following research projects:

Development of Lived Experience (LE) workforce to examine and describe how LE advocacy and leadership embedded within the mental health system can be defined, recognised and utilised in South Australia, 2019-21

Key People: Ellie Hodges (Lived Experience Leadership and Advocacy Network), Professor Nicholas Procter, and research team members from the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group

Funding Body: Fay Fuller Foundation

The aim of this research is to influence and effect ongoing system change through answering key questions related to the impact of Lived Experience (LE) advocacy and representation on individual recovery from mental health issues; to understand the reasons why LE leadership and advocacy is under-recognised or acknowledged by the health system and how this can be changed; and to address need and achieve better design of training resources and networks to guide and support LE advocacy, representation and leadership. This is with a view to embedding LE advocacy and leadership resources and thinking into communities and the South Australian health system. 

Evaluation of the Mental Health Lived Experience Register, 2019

Key People: Dr Mark Loughhead, Professor Nicholas Procter, and the Lived Experience Engagement team of the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, SA Health. This project is also supported by a steering group with lived experience advisors.

Funding Body: This project is supported by the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist and in-kind contributions from the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group.

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the communication and recruitment practices of the Mental Health Lived Experience Register for engaging consumers and carers in policy development activities. The project will invite consumers and carers to participate in a survey or focus group discussion about the effectiveness of the Register and how it can be improved. Health workers interested in consumer engagement and communication strategies will also be invited to a focus group discussion.

Further Information: Participant Information and Consent Forms for this research are available via the links below:

Are young adults aware of the long-lasting consequences of methamphetamine ('ICE') use on all health and would knowledge of a visible long-lasting consequence decrease use of the drug? 2017-19

Key People: Dr Gabrielle Todd, Dr Dominic Thewlis, Professor Nicholas Procter, Professor Adrian Esterman, Professor Jason White, Ms Deb Kadarusman (Drug Arm), Associate Professor Robert Wilcox (Neurologist, Flinders Medical Centre)

Funding Body: Fay Fuller Foundation

The strategic purpose of this project grant is to examine how educational interventions may favourably shift the risk of young South Australians at risk of methamphetamine use. The project will obtain high level evidence of how young South Australians decide upon methamphetamine use or non-use.

Suicide prevention education for NGO caseworkers, 2017-2018

Key People: Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Monika Ferguson, Associate Professor Mary Anne Kenny (Murdoch University), Mr Noel Clement (Director Migration, Emergencies and Movement, Australian Red Cross)

Funding Bodies: Australian Red Cross, AMES Australia, MDA Ltd.

Asylum seekers who are found to be refugees are granted a visa that entitles them to temporary residency. This may be a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV). There are approximately 30,000 asylum seekers currently living in the Australian community who are in this category. The impermanent nature of these temporary visas and the processes associated with their renewal mean that TPV and SHEV holders face considerable anxiety; specifically, mental distress and uncertainty about their continuing personal circumstances. This project delivers and evaluates training to address mental deterioration and related vulnerabilities for asylums seeker and refugee population who are on temporary visas.

Help-seeking for mental health concerns by emergency service first responders, 2017-2018

Key People: Dr Amy Baker, Professor Nicholas Procter

Funding Body: The Repat Foundation – The Road Home

The purpose of this work is twofold, to engage with emergency services first responders to: 1) better understand the barriers and enablers to seeking help for mental health concerns, and 2) develop strategies that can improve help-seeking amongst this population. Through greater understanding of what helps and hinders help-seeking for mental health concerns amongst first responders, this participatory action research project will lead to tangible, targeted resources that can benefit first responders and those who provide them with care and support.

Artists in Residence – Rural and Remote Inpatient Unit, 2017-18

Key People: Dr Amy Baker, Professor Nicholas Procter, Mr David Moseley (Country Health SA LHN, SA Health), four Artists in Residence across the two years

Funding Body: Country Health SA Local Health Network, SA Health and the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group, University of South Australia
In 2017 and 2018 the University of South Australia and SA Health jointly sponsored four Artists in Residence to work at the Rural and Remote Inpatient Unit at Glenside Health Service. The aim of this project was for artists to work with consumers to portray their stories of mental health and recovery in a visual sense. The artists created artwork by working alongside consumers who had been admitted to the Rural and Remote Inpatient Unit. Artworks were produced by the Artists in Residence based on consumer stories of recovery, or by consumers participating in the art-making process themselves alongside the Artists in Residence. The Artists in Residence created pieces of art to exhibit in the 2017 and 2018 SALA exhibitions based on the stories of the consumers’ recovery journeys.

Developing a research protocol for evaluation of a suicide prevention network, 2016-17

Key People: Dr Amy Baker, Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Monika Ferguson, Ms Heather Eaton, Dr Rachel Earl (Local Government Association of SA), Ms Lynne James (Principal Project Officer Suicide Prevention, Office of the Chief Psychiatrist SA Health), Members of the Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network

Funding Body: Local Government Association of South Australia

This project includes development of a Suicide Prevention Network Evaluation Tool, drawing ‘real time’ evidence from the Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network. The strategic purpose of this activity is to review and analyse best practices in community level suicide awareness and prevention. As a result of this work SA Health will have an evaluation tool available to all Suicide Prevention Networks across SA.

Design of a research methodology for suicide prevention research (Connecting with People), 2016-17

Key People: Dr Monika Ferguson, Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Conrad Newman (Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, SA Health), Members of the SA Health Connecting with People Working Group

Funding Body: SA Health

This project involves developing an evidence base for Connecting with People (CwP) training in South Australia. Its purpose is to support SA Health’s ‘Connecting with People’ Suicide Prevention initiative, underpinned by the highest national and international standards of research, teaching and community engagement. This activity also contributes to multisite and multidisciplinary development of educational interventions to prevent suicide, helping to empower the workforce to provide evidence based care for people at risk of suicide.

Areas of study and research

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