Working in partnership to support the women: the Stella Project Mental Health Initiative interim evaluation report

Miranda A. H. Horvath, Susan Hansen, Joanna R. Adler, Megan Hiserodt, Jennifer Herring

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


Services commissioned to support women with mental health problems, problematic substance use and experiences of domestic and sexual violence often work in isolation, despite the intersectionality of these issues. Frontline practitioners do not always have the training, assessment tools and referral pathways to address all three issues when they occur. Operational and monitoring frameworks do not always make the links between the issues which result in women falling through the gaps in service provision. The aim of the Stella Project Mental Health Initiative (SPMHI), therefore, is to empower services across the three sectors of substance use, mental health and violence against women to develop this work through knowledge transfer, policy development support and promoting strong partnerships and monitoring mechanisms. In assessing the efficacy of the SPMHI, an evaluation was commissioned which will collect data before and after the intervention takes place. Before we consider the scope and findings of that evaluation, it is necessary to first outline the nature of the SPMHI. There are several components, encompassing an action research based intervention, practice guidance development and the creation of online learning tools: Policy and procedure development, training and partnership working. The SPMHI will work with selected agencies working in the fields of violence against women, substance use and mental health in three regions of the UK to develop an integrated response to survivors of gender based violence and who are experiencing problematic substance use and psychological distress. This will focus on providing: - Support to agencies to develop their policies and procedures (including risk assessments and care plans), referral pathways and multi-sector partnerships - Training to equip staff with skills and confidence to work with the complex issues and; - Support to embed issues in local authority and PCT strategic policies. Good practice guidance. Following completion of the action research, good practice guidance will be developed and widely disseminated across the UK through our extensive networks. We also propose to run a series of inter-active and innovative workshops which focus on equipping practitioners with the skills and understanding to implement the good practice guidance. Online training course. A web-based interactive training course will be developed to address the overlapping issues. This could be accessed by any practitioner across the UK for free. The Stella Project selected three sites across the United Kingdom: Bristol, Nottinghamshire and the London Borough of Hounslow in the summer of 2010. Frontline agencies were invited to submit expressions of interest to the identified strategic leads in their site, who were responsible for selecting participating agencies (a total of seventeen agencies (who together provide a total of twenty services) across the three sites). The selection was based on the capacity and commitment of each agency to engage with the work. This work is fully funded by a three-year grant from the Department of Health.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon UK
PublisherAVA Stella Project
Number of pages85
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2012


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