The Health Research Board (HRB) is responsible for developing a national mental health research strategy, aligned with the national mental health policy – Sharing the Vision: A Mental Health Policy for Everyone 2020-2030. This new research strategy is an HRB-led deliverable under the Implementation Plan 2022-2024 for Sharing the Vision. Recommendation 93 of the implementation plan outlines that:
A National Population Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research and Evaluation Strategy should be developed and resourced to support a portfolio of research and evaluation activity in accordance with priorities identified in the research strategy.
This document outlines the terms of reference for an Expert Group that will provide independent advice and guidance to the HRB regarding the development of the national mental health research strategy. The Expert Group is bound by and subject to these terms of reference.
The purpose of the Expert Group is to support the development a national mental health research strategy through:
Sharing relevant information, perspectives and expertise regarding the development of a national mental health research strategy. The timeline for the strategy will not be predefined and will be expected to emerge from the considerations of the group. There is potential to align with the implementation timelines of the Sharing the Vision if deemed appropriate.
Drawing on international best practice in national research strategies, with support from HRB’s Programme Manager for Mental Health.
Drawing on the perspectives of national and international stakeholders, with support from HRB’s Programme Manager for Mental Health.
Drawing on overviews of the existing mental health research landscape in Ireland, with support from HRB’s Programme Manager for Mental Health.
Identifying key objectives and high level actions for a mental health research strategy.
Identifying research priority areas for mental health in Ireland, ensuring that these align with the priorities outlined in Sharing the Vision.
Providing guidance regarding an implementation plan for the research strategy and identification of required resources.
Reviewing and providing comments on iterative versions of the national research strategy.
Endorsing the final national mental health research strategy.
While the Expert Group will endorse the research strategy, the HRB is ultimately responsible for the drafting and publication of the national mental health research strategy. Thus, the Expert Group will report to the Board of the HRB. HRB will in turn report to the Minister for Mental Health and Older People and to the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee for Sharing the Vision, in fulfilling its responsibility for Action 93 of the Sharing the Vision Implementation Plan 2022-2024. The Board of the HRB will approve the final research strategy in advance of its submission to the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee.
The Expert Group will have approximately 20 members. Members will be appointed by the HRB and will represent a diverse range of perspectives in mental health research. Public and patient involvement in the Expert Group will be crucial to ensuring that the research strategy meets the needs of those it aims to serve. Additional experts may be invited to attend meetings to provide specific guidance, and observers may be invited to attend meetings, as and when needed.
The Expert Group has an obligation to conduct its activities in an open and ethical manner. Members are expected to:
Work collaboratively to achieve consensus in developing the mental health research strategy.
Work co-operatively and respect the views of others.
Act, as a collective group, in the best interests of the success of the mental health research strategy.
Make every effort to attend meetings and devote sufficient time to reading supporting information that will be provided to inform this work.
Identify and declare any conflicts of interests and proactively manage any conflicts in accordance with HRB’s policy on conflicts of interest.
The Chair may also be called upon to:
Provide updates to the Board of the HRB regarding progress.
Contribute to quarterly reports for submission to the Department of Health.
Engage with the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee and its specialist sub-groups to advance the strategy’s development and to ensure its relevance to the broader mental health arena.
Timeframe – The Expert Group will be in place for approximately 12 months, to allow members sufficient time to develop and endorse the national mental health research strategy.
Meetings – Formal meetings of the Expert Group will take place monthly. Meetings will be held in HRB’s Dublin office or online. Additional meetings may be held as necessary. A quorum of 5 members will be required to hold a meeting.
Administrative arrangements – Agendas and background documents will be circulated at least one week before each meeting. Meeting minutes will be circulated within two weeks of each meeting.
Compensation – The Chair will be compensated, and public and patient representatives will also be compensated. Other group members will not be compensated. However, all group members will be entitled to payment for travel and subsistence expenses related to meeting attendance.
Once the national mental health research strategy has been approved by the Board of the HRB and presented to the National Implementation and Monitoring Committee, the Expert Group will be deemed to have met its terms of reference.