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Collaborative Research Grant Initiative: Mental Wellness in Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

In 2008, the former Alberta Mental Health Board (now Alberta Health Services) was granted funding from the Ministry of Human Services to advance applied research activity in mental health within areas of interest to their Ministry. The focus was on generating knowledge to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the programs, services, and support to respond to the mental health needs of seniors and adults with disabilities.

The grant supported both academic and practitioner-driven investigation to assist seniors and adults with disabilities living with a mental illness, in order to maximize their independence in the community. A Steering Committee guided the planning and implementation of the CRGI.

SIX DOMAINS OF INVESTIGATION

The Steering Committee identified six areas of interest to the Ministry.

  1. Early identification and prevention: Protective and risk factors
  2. Employment
  3. Independent living: Supports and barriers
  4. Poly-pharmacy: Risks associated with using several medications
  5. Strength-based approaches
  6. System capability to respond to those with complex needs

A two-day facilitated priority-setting event was held in January 2009 to refine these domains into research questions. Background reports were commissioned for these domains to identify strengths and gaps in the existing literature, and assist in making recommendations as to where further research is required. The specific research questions generated by the participants were vetted through the Steering Committee and subsequently brought forward to and approved by the Minister.

GRANTS

Three levels of funding were available through the Collaborative Research Grant Initiative: Mental Wellness in Seniors and Persons with Disabilities. Operating Grants, geared towards academics, had the largest amount of funding, Seed/Bridge Fund grants has a moderate amount of funding, and Ideas Fund grants had a small amount of funding over the shortest term. Details about grant recipients are provided on the CRGI Research Grant Recipients page.