Western Alliance Mental Health Grant Round – Announcement of Successful Applicants

Over recent months Western Alliance has been undertaking a Mental Health Research Grant Round, which will support translation focussed mental health research across Western Victoria.

Expressions of interest opened in March this year with 12 projects being submitted and 4 being shortlisted for formal review. We were extremely impressed with the calibre of projects put forward, and we are pleased to announce that the following two projects have been selected by our review panel for funding:

CReW-Ace (COVID-19 & Regional Health Staff Wellbeing – Accessibility of Support Strategies) – $35,000

Principal Investigator: Alison Buccheri (Colac Area Health)

Collaborating organisations: Grampians Health (Ballarat), East Grampians Health Service, Terang & Mortlake Health Service, Timboon & District Health Service, Mildura Base Public Hospital, Barwon Health, South West Healthcare, Deakin University, Western Health, Monash University School of Rural Health

CReW-Ace (COVID-19 & Regional Health Staff Wellbeing – Accessibility of Supports) will build on our successful Western Alliance funded, multi-site CReW (COVID-19 & Regional Health Staff Wellbeing) study that investigated the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of staff in rural health services in Victoria.

CReW identified that staff wellbeing was influenced by interdependent factors including 1) the nature of the health workplace, 2) rural community relations, 3) self-care and supportive networks, and 4) public health measures and the unpredictable pandemic. CReW-Ace is the next phase of research and will explore staff and manager perceptions of access to and provision of wellbeing supports and strategies in rural Victorian health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CReW-Ace will build on established partnerships from CReW to focus on how rural health services support the wellbeing needs of staff. An online survey completed by staff in eight rural Victorian health services will elicit enablers and barriers to accessing and providing wellbeing supports and strategies. The survey, informed by CReW study findings, will be co-designed with participating health services to ensure relevance and potential for rapid translational impact.

Survey findings and recommendations will be disseminated among all participating health services and will inform organisational strategies to support the wellbeing needs of the rural health workforce.

Co-design and evaluation of Hospital in the Home (HITH) for young people accessing Eating Disorder Services in the Barwon region – $15,000

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Genevieve Pepin (Deakin University)

Collaborating organisations: Barwon Health, National Centre for Farmer Health

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a significant increase in young people developing eating disorders globally, with a corresponding increase in demand for inpatient Eating Disorder Services (EDS) in the Barwon region.

In response, Barwon Health initiated the development and implementation of a Hospital in the Home (HITH) service, treating young eating disorder patients requiring inpatient care.

The research project will be underpinned by co-design principles and processes to evaluate this new service, contributing to the Listening and Learning Mental Healthcare System developed by the Change to Improve Mental Health (CHIME) Translational Research Partnership between Deakin University and Barwon Health.

In line with co-design principles, this project will include consumers of services, their carers, and clinicians who have first-hand experiences of eating disorders and eating disorders service delivery.

We thank all of those who applied and participated in the review process, and we congratulate the grant recipients and look forward to seeing their important work come to life.