Data Analytics, Research and Evaluation (DARE)As a leading, accredited community-based mental health agency, CMHA Toronto supports the community mental health and addictions sector through data analysis, applied research and program evaluation by:
- Advancing understanding of the service needs of persons with lived experience of mental health issues and of effective interventions that address their needs
- Evaluating the accessibility, effectiveness and efficiency of community health programs
- Identifying health inequities within the community mental health and addictions sector as well as promising practices to address these inequities
- Enhancing the capacity of people with lived experience of mental health or addictions issues to evaluate services and conduct research relevant to their lived experiences to inform service and system improvement.
Research and Evaluation Components
Our DARE initiative is comprised of two main components—one focused on quantitative research and the other focused on qualitative research. Our quantitative research often involves analyses of big data collected by community mental health organizations during the provision of care.
We leverage these data to better understand the needs of service users and to inform decisions about how services can be tailored to address these needs. Our qualitative research is led by our Peer Program Evaluation Project (PPEP), which trains people with lived experience of mental health and addictions issues to evaluate mental health services in partnerships with service providers.
Research and Evaluation Projects and Collaborations
CMHA Toronto is leading research and evaluation projects that inform service and system improvements in the community mental health and addictions sector to better deliver care to those with mental health issues. Our research and evaluation projects developed in partnership with community mental health and addictions organizations, academic and research centres and think tanks have focused on the following areas:
Peer Program Evaluation Project (PPEP)
In operation since 2014, the Peer Program Evaluation Project (PPEP) at CMHA works in partnerships with service providers to evaluate mental health services. PPEP hires and trains people with lived experiences of mental health and addiction challenges (peers) to undertake program evaluation and community based research. PPEP is modeled after a mental health program evaluation initiative called Partnership and Evaluation toward Recovery (PER), developed in New Zealand in 2012.
Peers receive training in program evaluation, qualitative research methodology, ethical guidelines for research, data collection processes (observation methods, peer-to-peer interviewing techniques and facilitation of focus groups), qualitative data analysis, results interpretation, and results dissemination.
- Build capacity among service users and people with lived experience to undertake program evaluation and community-based participatory research
- Enhance the voice of people with lived experience to inform service design and implementation
- Promote recovery-orientation through applied research and evaluation