Current student research

Current Student Research projects available at Southern Synergy

Download the 2014/15 Student Projects at Synergy (docx, 176kb).

  1. Effect of group-based mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) on medication adherence in people with major depressive disorder
  2. Suitability: Honours, PhD
    Location: Southern Synergy Research Centre
    Dandenong Hospital ART Building
    126-128 Cleeland St, Dandenong
    Project Leaders: Professor Graham Meadows
    Dr Fran Shawyer and Dr Joanne Enticott
    Email: graham.meadows@monash.edu
    frances.shawyer@monash.edu
    joanne.enticott@monash.edu
    Phone: 03 9902 9696

    Project Description: Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a group based intervention designed to reduce rates of relapse of major depressive disorder. It integrates aspects of cognitive therapy with components of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. It teaches clients to become more aware of, and to relate differently to, thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations; in particular, to view thoughts and feelings as passing events in the mind rather than as necessarily reflecting reality. As part of a larger NHMRC-funded project (the DARE project) we have collected data from nearly 200 people evaluating the effect of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy on depressive relapse over a two year follow up period. Data included medication use and depressive relapse. This project examines the effect of MBCT on medication adherence, specifically whether it enhances conscious decision-making in reducing the tendency to ‘forget' medications, or alternatively emboldens participants to try and self-manage without medications. This question may be examined in the context of a range of potentially influential factors, such as classes of drugs or participant characteristics. Mediation analyses will explore the influence of potential causal factors.

    Index: mental health, mindfulness, depression, cognitive therapy

  3. Medicare services for mental health care: An examination of horizontal and vertical comprehensiveness
  4. Suitability: Honours, Masters, PhD
    Location: Southern Synergy Research Centre
    Dandenong Hospital ART Building
    126-128 Cleeland St, Dandenong
    Project Leaders: Professor Graham Meadows
    and Dr Joanne Enticott
    Email: graham.meadows@monash.edu
    joanne.enticott@monash.edu
    Phone: 03 9902 9696

    Project Description: High quality population-level research should guide mental health care policy. Yet, in Australia, billions of government dollars are spent each year on services that are not informed by rigorous research evidence. Funding policies for mental health services do not have a strong evidence base in terms of need, leading to scenarios whereby some high need areas (or groups) have inadequate services. This project will examine National Medicare data over a 4-year period, concentrating on the primary care ‘Better Access to Mental Health Care' (‘Better Access') items. The research will examine equity issues in service utilisation with consideration of socio-economic and geographic disadvantage. Two regions will be explored: major cities and outside of these areas. This opens the topic up for two student honours projects or one PhD project.

    Index: mental health, service utilisation, equity, policy recommendations

  5. Mental health and Recovery-Oriented Practice: Are consumers' experiences of recovery aligned with recovery oriented practice across mental health service sectors?
  6. Suitability: Honours, PhD
    Location: Southern Synergy Research Centre
    Dandenong Hospital ART Building
    126-128 Cleeland St, Dandenong
    Project Leaders: Dr Fran Shawyer and Dr Joanne Enticott
    Email: frances.shawyer@monash.edu
    joanne.enticott@monash.edu
    Phone: 03 9902 9461 (Fran)

    Project Description: Southern Synergy is commencing a cluster randomised control trial called PULSAR, which is a large 4 year multisite project involving mental health care settings in the Monash Health catchment area. PULSAR stands for ‘Principles Unite Local Services Assisting Recovery'. Recovery-Oriented Practice involves supporting a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. The PULSAR intervention involves staff training with the aim to embed Recovery-Oriented Practices in participating primary care and specialist mental health care settings. Several evaluations will evaluate the effectiveness of the PULSAR intervention on adult consumers of participating mental health services. This project involves examining baseline data from consumers - the Process of Recovery Questionnaire (QPR) and INSPIRE survey (Slade et al., 2011) - to determine if consumers reported experiences of recovery is in alignment with recovery based practice across different teams and sectors, including comparison of Public mental health services, Primary care and Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation Support Services.

    Index: mental health, Recovery-Oriented Practice

  7. Implementing recovery oriented mental health practices in the PULSAR intervention: A mixed-methods investigation of barriers and enablers in primary care settings
  8. Suitability: Honours, PhD
    Location: Southern Synergy Research Centre
    Dandenong Hospital ART Building
    126-128 Cleeland St, Dandenong
    Project Leaders: Dr Shiva Vasi and Dr Joanne Enticott
    Email: Shiva.vasi@monash.edu
    joanne.enticott@monash.edu
    Phone: 03 99029694 (Shiva)

    Project Description:
    Southern Synergy is commencing a cluster randomised control trial called PULSAR, which is a large 4 year multisite project involving primary care settings in the Monash Health catchment area. PULSAR stands for ‘Principles Unite Local Services Assisting Recovery'. Recovery-Oriented Practice involves supporting a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. The PULSAR primary care intervention involves the delivery of training to GPs in 30 primary care settings in order to embed Recovery-Oriented Practices in participating primary care settings. This project will examine existing and new data on mental health plans that used a template devised to support Recovery-Oriented Practice. Data in the form of qualitative interviews with GPs will also be collected. This mixed-methods approach will examine the uptake of the template and the impact of the template on practice. A PhD instead of an Honours student would extend the project by taking a broader examination of the applicability of Recovery-Oriented Practices in primary care.

    Index: Recovery-Oriented Practice, implementation theory and practice