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Research & Presentations

Research reports, papers, bibliography lists and presentations on various mental health issues with an emphasis on New Zealand.

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West Aucklanders needed for suicide research

Oct. 20 2016

Nothing could have prepared Joanne* for the emptiness and guilt that came after a close friend took his own life at 17. But it seemed insignificant compared to what she saw in his parents' eyes.

"They went through a range of emotions, from a really deep sadness to worrying about the other siblings."

And then came the self blame.

"They kept thinking about what they could have done better to save him. They kept questioning their own role."

Researcher Clare Stanton says cases like these point to a gaping hole in society's understanding of the support parents need in such a situation.

"It is a very complex issue and there is very little we know about helping parents of teenagers who have suicidal behaviour or have died by suicide.

"Off the top of my head I can think of two relevant studies in New Zealand, one has looked at only eight families and another one is with a small number of Maori families."

The PhD student, who is writing a thesis on parents and suicide risk, is currently on placement at Waitakere Hospital. Stanton is looking for west Auckland participants for her research.

"The data we have is limited to begin with, and the fathers' voices are not heard that much.

"In New Zealand we really don't know as much as we should about the support process," she adds

According to an OECD report, New Zealand has the highest rate of teen suicide. Provisional statistics released by the chief coroner show 579 Kiwis committed suicide between 2015 and 2016, the highest number in the eight years that the figures have been published.

Stanton says she has had interest from all over the country for her research, but is yet to find participants from west Auckland.

"I would imagine there is a high teenage population in west Auckland. "This study is about caring parents who have been through this experience and really want to help others."

If you would like to participate in the study please contact Clare Stanton via email her at or on 021 233 8726. You can also go to for more.

*Joanne wished to remain anonymous.

Quality Of Life Research Study: An invitation to participate

  • What is most important to people’s Quality of Life during mental health recovery?
  • We are interested in what people think and feel about this issue. 
  • Answers will help us to identify important quality of life issues for people living with and recovering from mental illness.

If you would like to contribute to this research by giving your views in a focus group, survey, & rating exercise:

Please make contact for more information:
or text / call: 022 123 6619

Thank you

Participant Information Sheet - Who Am I? What is the research about? Click for further information.
Ethics Approval Letter
Ethics Clearance Letter

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Prepared for Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

Two major government policy documents, namely, Te Tahuhu - Improving Mental Health 2005-2015 and Te Kokiri: The Mental Health and Addiction Action Plan 2006-2015 have identified the need to develop a research agenda for mental health and addiction in Asian communities. Te Pou was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to develop a national research agenda that would identify targets or priorities for mental health and addiction research for New Zealand's Asian population in the next three to five years. A separate agenda has been developed by Te Pou to identify priorities for New Zealand's refugee and migrant populations1. However, a number of areas in the classification and needs of Asian, refugee and migrant communities overlap.

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The development of a recording tool for agencies to identify young carers. Report for the Ministry of Health.

 The Carers of People with Mental Illness project is an innovative partnership project funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care and jointly conducted by the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA) and the Carers Association of Australia (CAA). The primary goal of the project was to identify priority actions to better support and recognise the roles of carers of people with mental illness across Australia.

A model of best practice for families affected by parental mental illness is documented in this report. Such information is expected to provide direction to the Government of Victoria and various agencies within the mental health and welfare sectors. It is also hoped that the report will contribute useful information to a larger evidence base, thereby improving future programs for children and families.

Families play a major role in providing day-to-day care for people with a mental illness, but improved support is urgently needed, especially in education for this role.

The New Zealand questionnaire contained seven main sections; demographics, time spent caring for someone with schizophrenia, costs associated with caring, questions regarding employment while caring, caring and unpaid activities, information about the person with schizophrenia being cared for and additional questions regarding caring.

Keeping Care Complete is the first international survey to shed light on experiences and insights of family caregivers of individuals with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Caregivers from Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States participated in the survey, which was developed by the World Federation for Mental Health and Eli Lilly and Company.

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Incubate Collaboration Report 4 May 2016

Barriers to Collaboration – Summary of Research

What is collaboration?

How people think about or define collaboration necessarily dictates how they then go on to talk about and enact this practice. While there is no singular definition, three key themes were identified in this research project. First, at its core collaboration is about working together to achieve positive outcomes not possible when acting in isolation. Second, collaboration takes place along a kind of integration continuum ranging from low level networking to high level mergers.  Third, there is an assumption that collaboration naturally leads to efficiency and efficacy, despite the lack of empirical evidence.

What are the barriers and enablers to collaboration?

There are five specific elements to any collaboration, regardless of the level of integration, which provide a useful framework for exploring barriers and enablers. These are: vision, people, resources, processes and culture.

Of the five elements, resources were top of mind for the NGO representatives we spoke to.  Many of those working within the sector believe they are not receiving optimal support from the government.  A combination of the government’s apparent expectation that collaboration should reduce costs, a shrinking funding pool, and the reality that there is a cost to collaborating, contribute to an environment with very real restrictions on achieving best outcomes through collaboration.

How does collaboration work in practice?

A particularly interesting aspect of the research is the Case Study Journey constructed as a result of speaking with multiple participants of a single collaboration project.  The journey is important because collaboration takes place over time. Several strong themes emerged:

  • A shared vision, including clear outcomes, was strongly supported by organisational leaders
  • In-depth planning was the first step
  • All those involved committed to long hours of hard work to get the project off the ground (and they were resourced to do this)
  • The journey was characterised by continuing ups and downs which seem particularly disorderly during set up but gradually flattened out over time, not least because of a skilled Project Manager

Five key learnings emerged from the research … as well as some questions:

1. Level of Integration 
Current research participants tended to be collaborating ‘at arm’s length’ … but what might be the benefits of more integration?

2. Facilitating the Journey 
More integrated collaboration involves a rockier journey … are organisations prepared in terms of resourcing, know-how, and cultural IQ?

3. Resourcing 
There is currently a ‘disconnect’ between (government) funders and the NGOs trying to collaborate … how can they get on the same page?

4. Sector-wide Immaturity 
The funder-NGO disconnect leads to problems of immaturity in understanding and actioning of collaboration for best outcomes.

5. Achieving Sector-wide Agreement 
A key to removing current barriers to collaboration in the community services sector is to reach sector-wide agreement on definitions and realistic resourcing.

Collaboration Report Presentation by Relate May 2016 - Powerpoint
Collaboration Report Presentation by Relate May 2016 - pdf

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The authors investigated knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about mental illness and providers held by a group of deaf adults. The American Sign Language interviews of 54 deaf adults were analyzed. Recurrent themes included mistrust of providers, communication difficulty as a primary cause of mental health problems, profound concern with communication in therapy, and widespread ignorance about how to obtain services. Deaf consumers' views need due consideration in service delivery planning. Outreach regarding existing programs is essential.

Geoff Bridgman PhD, Brent Macpherson BA, Marjorie Rako, Janine Campbell BEd, Victoria Manning MA, Tamina Norman-Kelly. This paper reports on the findings of a national epidemiological survey of 200 randomly selected. Deaf people in New Zealand and on models for the development of national mental health services for Deaf. The survey examined the extent of mental health problems, the use of mental health services and the need for specific mental health services for people of Deaf culture.

This report summarizes the relevant research and writing in the fields of deafness and mental illness, identifies problems and barriers in the public mental health service delivery system, and recommends specific interventions and systemic alterations to improve mental health services and programs for persons who are deaf and also have behavioral health problems.

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The research reveals that mental health services need to take a family and whanau-centred approach in order to reduce discrimination both towards and within families and whanau of people diagnosed with mental illness. The research shows that families and whanau feel discriminated against by service staff and often struggle without enough support. Reported negative behaviours include not providing information, ignoring cultural and other worldviews, not consulting or including families and whanau and blaming or criticising parents.

Young people talk about young people with experience of mental illness and implications for anti-discrimination initiatives.

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The aim of the review was to produce a review of the literature, the Acts of Parliament and relevant current practices on regulation of the use of ECT in New Zealand and other like nations.

Continuation Pharmacotherapy in the Prevention of Relapse Following Electroconvulsive Therapy - Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is highly effective for treatment of major depression, but naturalistic studies show a high rate of relapse after discontinuation of ECT.

Retrospective controlled study of inpatient ECT: does it prevent suicide? (US) - This study examined the use of ECT among inpatients who committed suicide at a provincial psychiatric hospital. Methods: A total of 45 psychiatric in-patients who committed suicide at a provincial psychiatric hospital were compared with a gender, age and admission diagnosis matched group of 45 hospitalized patients to examine the use of electroconvulsive therapy during the last 3 months of hospitalization.

A review of efficacy, safety and regulatory controls.

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The involvement of family, social networks and those who are important in the life of the person presenting with difficulties is core in early interventions. When intervening early, it is much more likely that the individual will be functioning at a level where they are still engaged with families and relatives.

Relational Recovery Beyond Individualism in the Recovery Approach

While the recovery approach in mental health currently enjoys immense support, it is not without its critics. The most persistent criticisms focus on the individualism underpinning many conceptualisations of recovery. In this paper, we outline the shortcomings of individualistic approaches to recovery, and explore the alternative notion of relational recovery.

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Bibliography list of Maori mental health research 2004-2009.

A Discussion Document. This report presents an exploration of the views of Maori informants around the country. The exploration covers Maori informants' views on the nature of psychology and the state of the current relationship between psychological theory and practice, tikanga Maori and Maori visions and aspirations. Participants in this process were all involved in kaupapa Maori initiatives and tikanga Maori in daily life. In considering the possibilities presented by the HPCA Bill, they drew on their experiences in a variety of arenas, including health, education, justice, welfare, whanau, hapu, iwi, marae and papakainga work and involvements with psychology training and practice.

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“Movember believes that it is time to take a game–changing approach to improve the mental health of men. There is no one simple solution. One organisation alone does not and has not had ‘the answer’. A challenge for the sector, and the impetus for Movember, is to build powerful partnerships locally and globally that are committed, through research and development, to a vision of having a revolutionary impact on the mental health of men."

Mortality after hospital discharge for people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder: retrospective study of linked English hospital episode statistics, 1999-2006

Hospital admission for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

The gap in life expectancy from preventable physical illness in psychiatric patients in Western Australia: retrospective analysis of population based registers

 This paper explores the movement of consumer participation in mental health research, and presents the argument that active consumer participation can produce better and more ethical research. The implications of this for social research and possible models of consumer participation in research are discussed. The paper then highlights the impacts of this type of research on policy: that policymakers need to build the requirement for inclusive research practices into new policy, and that policy development needs to be informed by research that is conducted with a substantial degree of consumer participation.

Aim: To identify barriers and enablers to the provision of mental health care by Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) in the northern region. Methods: Information was generated from structured interviews with 22 of the 25 PHOs and the four District Health Boards (DHBs) in the northern region.

This document builds on the initial Blueprint and includes changes as a result of feedback received from many people and organisations. It sets out our translation of the levels of services and the changes required to fully implement the Government's National Mental Health Strategy.

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In this issue, Jacka et al. (5) present data regarding the association of dietary patterns with depression and anxiety. Jacka and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study in Australia in which adult women were randomly selected. A comprehensive food frequency questionnaire was developed to reflect 12-month eating habits, and it was administered to each subject. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR was utilized to assess psychiatric disorders, with particular focus on major depressive disorder, dysthymia, and anxiety disorders. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was also used to quantify psychiatric symptoms.

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This plan is closely linked with CMDHB’s Workforce Development Plan. It clarifies what additional actions it will take to ensure adequate numbers of people with appropriate skills are available for supporting older people.

A critical appraisal of the literature. NZHTA Report. There are limitations in the available research base and the evaluation of geriatric psychiatry services. What is published, despite being the best currently available, is at times difficult material to draw strong conclusions about service effectiveness. Studies in primary care, rural settings and also with minority or ethnic groups are lacking. These limitations do not necessarily indicate lack of effectiveness, but rather highlight the lack of research in these areas especially research specific to the New Zealand context.

Bibliography List.

This report provides an understanding of the prevalence of older persons/kaumatua mental health in Nelson Marlborough DHB1, identification of primary and secondary services currently available, a high level best practice summary and finally the report identifies several recommendations that synergise with the proposed Nelson Marlborough Health of Older People Strategy.

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This paper describes background to the development of the relatively new field of infant mental health and why this may be important for Pacific communities in Aotearoa/New Zealand(NZ) and elsewhere. There is a discussion of Samoan concepts and research that could inform infant mental health theory and practice.

This paper describes the development of a dedicated Pacific child, adolescent and family mental health service based in Porirua, Aotearoa/New Zealand(NZ). Particular reference is made to, firstly, the social and demographic characteristics of the population we serve, and referrals to our service, and secondly, to key Samoan research findings which emphasize the Samoan relational concept of self as a fundamental concept underpinning Samoan notions of mental wellbeing.

The overall goal of the project was to develop a Pacific Cultural Worker Practice Framework for the Pacific Mental Health and Addiction Sector in the Auckland metropolitan region. This discussion paper outlines the processes and findings of the project, presenting a draft Mental Healthand Addiction Pacific Cultural Practice Framework for the Auckland metropolitan area that is supported by Pacific stakeholders.

The aim of this study was to provide indepth qualitative data that explored Pacific perceptions and experience of the theory, practice, and utilisation of Pacific mental health services in New Zealand. This paper documents: (i) the different models of care practiced in the Pacific mental health sector, and (ii) the specific components that: (a) make these models uniquely Pacific, and (b) that consumers and families identified as integral to the recovery process.

This study provides rich insights into the different perceptions of its various focus group and individual interview participants. These participant perceptions when placed alongside relevant literature findings and overseas indigenous and ethnic minority health programmes, policies and consumer perspectives make for some interesting and informative discussion of the research aims of this study.


This theoretical paper introduces the concept of the "negotiated space", a model developed by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Maui Hudson and colleagues describing the interface between different worldviews and knowledge systems. This is primarily a conceptual space of intersection in-between different ways of knowing and meaning making, such as, the Pacific indigenous reference and the dominant Western mental health paradigm of the bio-psycho-social.

 The social and cultural fabric of Pacific peoples in New Zealand society is diverse, complex and heterogenous. There are differences between cultural groups and also within cultural groups in terms of norms, customs, language, cultural values and behaviours.

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As Personality Disorder continues to be a subject of intense public and professional debate, this study has explored by means of an in-depth interview the views of fifty people to whom this diagnosis has been attributed, to include: demographic data, type of personality disorder and other diagnoses; its meaning for them; how they found out about the diagnosis; its impact; related life events, and value of different types of support.

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This study used group interviews to explore Maori and European New Zealander (Pakeha) perspectives on access to personal health information. Two predominant themes emerged: the tension between the individual and society, and differences inherent in the use of formal and informal moral codes.

NZ Health & Disability Services National Reportable Events Policy 2012 - The purpose of this policy is to contribute to improved quality, safety and experience of health and disability services through systems that are consumer-centred, provide for early identification and review of incidents and reportable events, ensure lessons are learnt so preventable adverse events are not repeated.

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Family Psychoeducation For Schizophrenia - Lorenza Magliano, M.D., Ph.D.; Andrea Fiorillo, M.D., Ph.D.; Claudio Malangone, M.D., Ph.D.; Corrado De Rosa, M.D.; Mario Maj, M.D., Ph.D. and the Family Intervention Working Group This study explored the effectiveness of a psychoeducational family intervention for schizophrenia on patients' personal and social functioning as well as on relatives' burden and perceived support.

Health and Self-Care Practices of Persons With Schizophrenia - Data on the self-care and healthrelated practices and health status of 22 outpatients with schizophrenia were collected from interviews using a series of health survey instruments and a review of patient records.

A report by The British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology.

Vitamin D status linked to severity of schizophrenia

Recent research shows that schizophrenia is caused by a neurodevelopmental defect that disrupts early brain formation. Vitamin D possesses neuroprotective properties, with some research indicating that healthy vitamin D levels may be an essential component for healthy neural development and function. Due to the presence of vitamin D receptors and the enzyme required to activate vitamin D (1-alpha hydroxylase) in the brain, researchers hypothesize that vitamin D may work locally in the brain to influence proper development.

The research on this topic has only just begun. Current research indicates that low vitamin D levels during the prenatal period and early childhood are significantly linked to schizophrenia. One small study found vitamin D status is significantly associated with schizophrenia. Since the study consisted of such a small sample size, researchers wanted to know if they could replicate these results in a larger sample, further illustrating the potential role of vitamin D in schizophrenia.

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Factors Associated with Reduced Depression and Suicide Risk

Factors Associated with Reduced Depression and Suicide Risk among Mäori high school students New Zealand (NZ) - Doctoral dissertation. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, U.S.A.

Reporting of Suicide in New Zealand Media - A Content Analysis 

This study investigated media reporting of suicide behaviour in New Zealand. The researchers have produced a description of the type, content and quality of reporting in newspaper, broadcasting, television and internet excerpts published in a 12 month period. Five case studies were examined in further depth to explore aspects of media content that may lead audiences to draw specific conclusions about the suicide event. The information collected can be used to support the implementation of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2008-2012 (Ministry of Health, 2008) and the effectiveness of the Ministry of Health guidelines on suicide reporting.

Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour Amongst Maori Youth

Beautrais (2003) notes that although Maori youth are over-represented in suicide statistics, older Maori males and females seem to be protected against suicide; suicide is rare in Maori adults aged over 45, and is virtually non-existent in Maori aged 60 years and over. Beautrais and Fergusson suggest that older Maori may be more valued and have more meaningful roles and status, compared to older non-Maori people, and these factors may protect older Maori against suicide.

Suicide Data and Stats

These annual statistical publications present and summarise suicide information received from the New Zealand Mortality Collection, and admissions to hospital for intentional self-harm sourced from the New Zealand National Minimum Dataset.

Support for Maori, Pacific and Asian Family, Whanau, and Significant Others who have been bereaved by suicide

The Ministry of Youth Development (MYD) is the lead agency in the implementation of the National Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy and the development of a national all ages suicide prevention strategy. MYD commissioned this report as one element of the work being carried out to inform the establishment of enhanced support services and/or resources for families, whanau and significant others bereaved by suicide and serious suicide attempts.

Whakamomori: He whakaaro, he korero noa: A collection of contemporary views on Maori and suicide

This paper is one of a suite of six reports that the Ministry of Health commissioned from the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Services between 2001 and 2004. The suite of reports, explore a range of possible social and epidemiological explanations, analyses and evidence about New Zealand's suicide trends. Due to a three-year time lag in coroner statistics being available, most of the reports address suicide trends up to 1999.

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Effectiveness Of Early Interventions For Preventing Mental Illness In Young People

The systematic literature search and critical appraisal were performed to provide an evidence-based review of the effectiveness of early intervention programmes for youth mental health. Studies were considered if they aimed either (a) to prevent the development of mental health conditions relating to substance abuse, conduct disorder, mood, eating disorders and/or anxiety, or (b) to intervene in the early stages of a mental health condition to alter its development or pathway.

Milwaukee Wrap Around Service Workshop

The Werry Centre for Child & Adolescent Mental Health Workforce Development in NZ was pleased to host the Milwaukee Wrap Around Service Workshop with Bruce Kamradt.

Wraparound Milwaukee is a unique system of care annually serving over 1,300 children with serious emotional and mental health needs and their families. See more background info.

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Mental Health Foundation Resource & Information Service (NZ) - One of the ways we support individuals and communities is through providing access to quality information and resources on mental health and wellbeing. We encourage people to make informed choices and decisions about their mental health in ways that enhance their quality of life. We have a range of tool kits and educational resources focussing on enhancing mental wellbeing, community awareness & destigmatisation, for use in schools and community settings. A file of our services. There is also a searchable library database where anyone who becomes a registered member can borrow a range of mental health, wellbeing and mental health promotion material including books and DVDs. If you are based outside of Auckland, you can borrow our books by Interloan through your public library.

New Zealand Guidelines Group (NZ) - The New Zealand Guidelines Group leads a movement towards the delivery of high quality health and disability services throughout New Zealand through a change in culture based on evidence and effectiveness. Here you can access all NZGG's evidence-based publications, as well as those developed by other New Zealand organisations. For each guideline, supporting resources and information, where relevant, is available. These include summaries, search strategies and consumer resources. Consumer resources can also be downloaded.

Report of the Confidential Forum For Former In-patients of Psychiatric Hospitals (NZ) - The Confidential Forum for Former In-Patients of Psychiatric Hospitals was announced by the Government in 2004 and established in 2005. Its main purpose was to provide an accessible, confidential environment in which former in-patients, family members of in-patients, or former staff members could describe their experiences of psychiatric institutions in New Zealand in the years before November 1992 (at which date the current mental health legislation came into effect). (US) - Schizophrenia biology and genetics. Latest research, reports and links to schizophrenia research and development.

Schizophrenia Research Forum (US) - The Schizophrenia Research Forum holds online discussions periodically on selected topics. Working with one or more researchers who are experts in the topic, we arrange access to published papers or prepare background text as a basis for reader commentary.

Schizophrenia Trials Promising (GB) - The first human trial of a new schizophrenia drug has yielded promising results, report scientists. What sets apart the experimental drug from all other antipsychotics is its target in the brain - glutamate receptors rather than dopamine.

Te Pou (NZ) - New Zealand's National Centre of Mental Health Research and Workforce Development. Our key objectives are: to build a strong and enduring workforce to deliver mental health services to all people; and to develop a culture of continuous quality improvement in which information and knowledge is welcomed and used to enhance recovery and service development.

The Werry Centre  (NZ) - The Werry Centre incorporates Workforce Development for the child and adolescent mental health sector workforce, teaching in child and adolescent mental health, research in the child and adolescent mental health field and workforce development in this field.

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