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MH ECO methodology to be used in a four year MIRF funded Melbourne University project.



Darebin Community Mental Health Centre   

MH ECO is an innovative method of identifying and exploring mental health consumers’ and carers’ experiences of mental health service delivery. MH ECO has its genesis in dissatisfaction with previous mental health survey methodologies. The project carried out at the Darebin Community Mental Health Centre marks the transition from the separate C & C Experience and MH ECO piloted methodologies to the implementation of the combined MH ECO Initiative.


The MH ECO methodology entails a mixed design data collection phase comprising  questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Analysis of the data was used to prioritise service parameters that had been identified by consumers, carers and service staff as requiring improvement. Co-Design groups were formed to develop action plans for improvement strategies based on best practice models and local knowledge. Each Co-Design group was made up of consumers, carers, research officers, service management and staff to engender a truly collaborative approach to service improvement. The data collection process provided a coal face view of the experiences of  the mental health service end users. Due to the shared development of the action plans and the structured nature of project, the MH ECO methodology enabled the mental health service to implement quality improvement changes more quickly than may have otherwise been possible.


The project at Darebin Community Mental Health Centre demonstrated that MH ECO is an innovative and inclusive service quality improvement methodology suitable for use in mental health services. The outcomes of the project were found to be consistent with the objectives set out in the project brief.


Doutta Galla Community Mental Health

The primary aim of the Doutta Galla MH ECO project was to develop capacity in the Doutta Galla Community Mental Health service for incorporating experience based co-design processes into organisational quality improvement practice. 


The project focused on two programs within the organisation, the Common Ground day program and the Rocket youth residential care service. The Doutta Galla service had already taken part in the Consumer and Carer Experiences of Care pilot project in which a considerable amount of information had been collected about the experiences of the service's consumer and carers. The relevant service parameters for redesign were derived from analysis of  the C & C Experience pilot project information. Education and Training for MH ECO participants was provided by the combined consumer and carer research team with the aim of providing information about the underlying concepts of MH ECO and opportunities to develop skills for the Co-Design process. A series of colaboratively designed action plans resulted from the MH ECO project and these were integrated into the organisations' quality improvemnt framework.


The MH ECO project at the Doutta Galla service illustrated the value of incorporating the experiences of people who are receiving or providing services in the process of redesigning aspects of the service. In many respects, the project  fulfilled it's aim of developing capacity in the organisation to meaningfully involve consumers and carers in service redevelopment.





© 2010-2014 Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council and Tandem Inc.

“A very positive experience. Recognised the value and importance of having a co-design process”. 


"It was a meaningful process to reflect on the practices currently available. Great experience to work with staff, consumers and carers in a common forum”.


"Really looked forward to our sessions, everyone contributed, we all worked toward a common goal... simply a great bunch of people".