The first step in implementing a new program is to determine whether or not the intervention is appropriate. This can be done through a number of different methods, including a qualitative method, which is particularly useful in the early stages of the project. This method enables investigators to gain a better understanding of the issue at hand, often in cases when little prior research has been done or no theory to guide the intervention. Examples of qualitative studies include research on the implementation of evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD in VA specialty clinics.
The second step is to collect data to better understand the effectiveness of interventions. These data can be collected through surveys and questionnaires, and by using routine outcome measures. The latter are especially important in determining the impact of an intervention, as well as the use and benefit of services. In addition, these data can be linked across sectors, which can provide longitudinal outcomes for those with mental health disorders. By combining these two steps, researchers can better understand whether their interventions have an impact on their lives.
This research helps determine whether a program is effective and can be implemented. Findings are used to develop effective interventions. It also helps to determine which types of programs would be most appropriate for a particular population. Several types of studies are performed each year to understand how public health policies affect the lives of individuals and communities. By conducting research, mental health professionals can help to address the needs of the most vulnerable populations and improve their quality of life. Further, the data can be used to identify gaps in the mental health services provided by various agencies and organizations and prioritize strategies to address them.
The qualitative and quantitative approaches are often combined, creating a mixed-methods approach to research. Both methods provide a greater understanding of the phenomena of interest, while qualitative methods help researchers to develop hypotheses and test them. They also provide greater depth of understanding than quantitative approaches. In addition to these two approaches, mixed-methods approaches are also helpful in mental health service research. For example, research involving the development of new treatments may also benefit from qualitative methods.
In addition to mental health treatment, the Department of Mental Health views education as an important public health context. For example, multiple faculty members work with local school systems to develop prevention interventions for school-aged children. Such preventive interventions can contribute to the development of positive social emotional and behavioral skills. Furthermore, multiple faculty members study the natural history of substance use and develop preventive interventions to reduce the likelihood of addiction in children. For this reason, the Department emphasizes the importance of social determinants and structural factors.
Moreover, mental health research needs to be multidisciplinary. In order to produce more effective treatments, researchers need to establish external partnerships with the life sciences industry and the NHS. In addition, they need to work with the charitable sector to test and refine novel treatments. Luckily, the UKRI’s new mental health networks have already supported this approach by bringing together teams from different fields. Other funders have emphasized the need for multidisciplinary approaches, as well.