User and researcher collaborations in mental health in low and middle income countries: a case study of the EMPOWER project.

Gupta, E; Roberts, B; (2014) User and researcher collaborations in mental health in low and middle income countries: a case study of the EMPOWER project. BMC research notes, 7 (1). p. 37. ISSN 1756-0500 DOI:

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BACKGROUND Increasing recognition has been given to the interaction of users and researchers in shaping the perspective and practice of mental health care. However, there remains very little evidence exploring how this interaction works, particularly in low and middle income countries. The aim of this study was to explore experiences of how users and researchers worked together to communicate research, using a case study of the EMPOWER project. METHODS The study followed a case-study approach. EMPOWER was a project that sought to strengthen the capacity of user organizations in India, Kenya, Nepal and Zambia by encouraging user-researcher collaborations to communicate research findings in the four countries. A qualitative research method was applied for this study, with semi-structured interviews conducted with seven people: two researchers, one communications developer, and four user group members (one from each of the four countries). Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. RESULTS The findings indicated positive perceptions of the collaboration between researchers and users. Key themes were partnership and support, the value of the personal experience of users and their knowledge of the target audiences, and empowerment. Key challenges related to differences in levels of education and technical knowledge and the lack of payments to users. CONCLUSIONS This exploratory study provides insight to help understand collaborative processes for communicating mental health research. It highlights many positive outcomes from the EMPOWER collaboration but also highlights the need for more in-depth research on this issue.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
Research Centre: ECOHOST - The Centre for Health and Social Change
PubMed ID: 24423150


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