Mental illness in early life can have a devastating effect on the social, educational and economic future of young people, which in turn influences the mental wealth of countries across the globe. With over half the world's population living in urban areas, decision makers, who are often constrained by limited resources, face significant challenges to design effective mental health programs and effectively allocate their resources.
To address this, CSART and partners, including Swiss TPH, were awarded CHF 1.4 million by the Fondation Botnar to develop an advanced decision analysis within a monitoring and evaluation infrastructure to strengthen mental health systems for young people in Bogota, Colombia, informing decision makers and researchers about the efficiency of different investment scenarios.
Interactive decision support tool
The research program focuses on bringing together the best available evidence, data, expert and local knowledge to develop an interactive decision support tool, also known as a computer simulation model. To inform strategic planning, the tool will be embedded in an ongoing monitoring and evaluation cycle to ensure a robust continuous improvement framework.
In addition to the development of a computer simulation model to inform strategic decision-making at the population level, the research program includes customisation and piloting of a youth mental healthcare coordination platform, which has already been successfully implemented by the University of Sydney in Australia. This will calibrate the simulation enabling service providers to better connect and coordinate care at an individual level as well as better tailoring services to young people.
The role of Swiss TPH
Swiss TPH is mainly responsible for monitoring and evaluating the participatory workshops, which is made up of the relevant stakeholders involved in the mental health provision in Bogota, Colombia. The aim is to ensure that value is added to each stakeholder represented within the research program, and that this value is then translated throughout the entire program, contributing to the overall success and sustainability of the decision making tool.
"We are excited for this opportunity to bring our wide range of skills and expertise to this project. The collaborative work across our units at Swiss TPH is a fantastic opportunity to enhance our contribution on monitoring and evaluation, as well as language skills and knowledge of the cultural context. For instance, the experience from Florence Secula working with young people will be instrumental in this project," said Salvador Camacho, Project Leader at Swiss TPH. "We are grateful to be collaborating with a diverse group of highly-skilled partners who are working together to develop computer simulation models, which together will build a collective understanding of what works and what does not work in any given context, before investing valuable resources."
Update from October 2020
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the stakeholder workshops and other related activities cannot take place in person and are adapted to remote participation via digital tools. "We will ensure that each stakeholder represented within the research programme will acquire added value in this new format, and that this value will be translated throughout the entire programme, and contribute to the overall success and sustainability of the decision-making tool," said Salvador Camacho.