With one in five (20%) Australians aged 18-85 experiencing mental illness in a given year, mental ill-health is a commonplace reality for many. Over the past few decades, mental health has emerged as a mainstream issue in Australia, and governments are increasingly driven to understanding the impact mental illness has on individuals and society.
To further our understanding of mental health and its broad and profound impact and influence, the voices of people who have experienced or are experiencing mental ill-health must not just be included but must be leading. This need is well recognised by government and mental health organisations, who are investing more and more in mental health research.
As market and social researchers, we play an important role in helping the voices of people with mental ill-health experience be heard.
Given that this often involves asking people to share their experiences, there is always some risk in opening up dialog on these issues. The risk increases when we ask people with lived experience to share their stories, or if we as researchers have some history (direct or indirect) with mental illness. So, while it’s important that every effort is made to maximise the potential for real insights to be gleaned from research (doing justice to the time we ask participants to share), the ultimate responsibility should always be to safeguard the wellbeing of participant and researcher alike.
Our challenge as an industry is to ensure we have awareness of this and have knowledge of the tools and strategies for managing these challenging interactions.
With mental health being a particularly relevant issue for younger Australians, the Young Researchers Network (YRN) is collaborating with the Government and Social Research Network (GSRN) to present an event in Melbourne – Mind Your Health – Mental Health in Research – discussing the complicated and nuanced issues around mental health research on Tuesday October 1 2019 . This includes but is not limited to:
- Protecting the wellbeing of all parties involved
- Developing a genuine and safe rapport
- Ensuring that all relevant voices are heard
- Respecting privacy and confidentiality
- Escalation protocols
- The role of ethics committees and ethics approvals
- Supplier training and management
This event will bring together a diverse mix of people involved in mental health research. The session is headlined by a panel discussion, with attendees encouraged to participate and ask questions, fostering an open and safe discourse on the topic of conducting market and social research on mental health.
- Ros Lording, Senior Research Director in the Qualitative Research Unit | Social Research Centre
- Catherine Boekel, Whereto Research | Partner
- Jo Farmer, Policy, evaluation and strategy – Mental health | Deloitte Australia
- Anne-Marie Gut, Wallis Market and Social Research | Account Director and Quality Assurance Manager
Click here for more details on panelists, the event and to register.