Carer Research & Evaluation Unit


The Carer Research and Evaluation Unit (CREU) is based at Tandem Inc., the Victorian peak body for mental health carers.


The CREU uses an experience-based research framework to gather data about families’ and carers’ experiences of the public mental health system. This data informs services’ quality improvement processes. The CREU aims to support families’ and carers’ active participation in mental health research and quality improvement activities, and to empower them to contribute meaningfully to service and policy development.


The Carer Research and Evaluation Unit was established at the same time as the Consumer Research and Evaluation Unit, at the commencement of the MH ECO project in 2006. The CREU has undertaken a range of projects in partnership with the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council, mental health services and other community organisations.


Our Approach

•Family and carer involvement in research and evaluation is a contemporary advancement in mental health system reform

•We value the lived experience of families and carers. We believe it should be a central focus to inform continuous improvement, and contribute to policy and service reform

•We view families and carers as partners in treatment and service delivery

•We conduct research which reflects families’ and carers’ needs, priorities and expectations

•We have a strong commitment to facilitating the meaningful application of research and evaluation findings to the design and delivery of mental health services

•We use qualitative and quantitative methodologies according to the needs of research projects

•We endeavour to provide valid, reliable and trustworthy research and evaluation findings with high ethical standards to ensure the quality of information

•We are committed to evidence based approaches

•We have a strong track record of positive partnerships

•We emphasise the reciprocal transfer of skills, capacity and knowledge throughout the process




Rosemary Callander  B Soc Stud (Sydney), MSW (Monash), PhD (VUT)


Rosemary Callander, Principal Researcher with the Carer Research and Evaluation Unit, is an experienced social worker, educator and researcher, and also a carer. She has worked for the Tandem Inc. since August 2006, on a range of projects including the Consumer and Carer Experiences of Care Project, Mental Health Experience-based Co-design (MH ECO) Initiative and the Privacy and Confidentiality Issues Paper for the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.


Tel: +61 3 8803 5509



List of publications

Crowley, A., Callander, R., & Brisbane, P. (2007). Covering all the bases: creating opportunities for consumers and carers to collaborate with mental health providers for quality improvement. New Paradigm: The Australian Journal on Psychosocial Rehabilitation. Winter edition .


Leggatt, M., & Cavill, M. (2010). Carers’ Experiences of the Mental Health System in Relation to Suicide. New Paradigm: The Australian Journal on Psychosocial Rehabilitation. Autumn Edition .   


Conference presentations  

Fairhurst, K. (2010, October). Family/carer involvement. Presentation given at College of Medical Hypnosis, Melbourne.


Leggatt, M., & David, L. (2010, October). The Case for Family Involvement. Workshop given for Social Work students, University of Melbourne, Melbourne.


Leggatt, M., & Cavill, M. (2010, June). Family Involvement in Mental Health Care Training for Mental Health Professionals. Mental Health in Pre-Registration Nursing Courses, Melbourne.


Leggatt, M., & Cavill, M. (2010, April). Carers’ Experiences of the Mental Health System in Relation To Suicide: How to Achieve a Better Outcome. VICSERV conference, Melbourne.


Cavill, M., & Callander, R. (2009, November). Experiences of Carers/Families of the Mental Health System. Mental Health Social Workers Conference, Melbourne.  


Other projects

Family Involvement Training Modules

The CREU is currently developing a series of Family Involvement Training Modules. These are educational resources for training undergraduate mental health professionals in how to work with families who support a person with mental health issues. Six training modules are being developed:

1. The Case for Family Involvement

2. Communication

3. Understanding and Managing Behaviour

4. Legal and Ethical Issues in Working with Families/Carers

5. The Role of Families in the Recovery Process

6. Carers and their Lived Experience





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