Research Program 3 aims to co-design, develop, apply and evaluate organisational continuous quality improvement (CQI) interventions to support to social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB).


A growing body of global evidence demonstrates that health equity gains are derived from health care systems which leverage inter-sectoral action to promote population health, redistribute resources towards groups with greater health needs, and revitalise comprehensive primary healthcare (PHC).  This Program will focus on social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB) across the life course.  SEWB is firmly established as a national strategic priority and the PHC sector is in a position to link with other sectors to better support young people to develop healthy lifestyles that persist through adulthood and intergenerationally.   Mental health issues are prevalent and reflect a need for integrated responses to abuse, stress, anxiety, grief, depression and trauma, risky alcohol and drug use, suicide, racism, violence and social disadvantage.  Yet studies have found the mental health care service needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are often unmet.  Our review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SEWB studies found no best practice interventions, but promising organisational approaches.


Program description

Research Program 3 aims to co-design, develop, apply and evaluate organisational continuous quality improvement (CQI) interventions to support the SEWB of young people.  In partnership with primary health care services, schools, child protection and youth services, our objectives are i) to develop a standardised CQI impact evaluation framework using yarning circles to co-produce meaningful SEWB measures; ii) to apply the framework across projects to detect improvements in child and adolescent clients’ SEWB outcomes; iii) to develop micro-simulation modelling of mental health pathways and use it to inform decisions for CQI interventions in routine service delivery for SEWB; iv) to use a step-wedge design and repeated systems assessment audits and surveys of school children to evaluation SEWB outcomes; and v) to use FAIT to evaluation the costs and benefits of cross-project CQI interventions

Current projects

System-level integration to promote the mental health of Indigenous children: A community-driven mixed methods approach

Funded by NHMRC #11164251, 2019-2024

CI McCalman, CI Bainbridge, Tsey, CI Cadet-James, Blignault, AI Askew, CI Bailie, CI Matthews, CI Percival, AI Burgess.


In partnership with services in multiple sites, we are using CQI to co-design and implement interventions to improve systems-level integration; and evaluate effects on Indigenous children’s service use, satisfaction and mental health, and costs and benefits.

Integrating research into youth services in remote communities

Funded by ARC #DP170101867; 2018-2022

Shakeshaft, CI Bainbridge.


Implementing QI of/with youth services through evaluation in sites at Alice Springs, Armidale and Cairns.

Seed-funded projects

Enhancing the DESDE-LTC as a tool for mapping social and emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Indigenous Countries/Communities

 More info coming soon.


Projects under development

Workforce development for family wellbeing

In development

Tsey, Baird, CI Cadet-James, Whiteside, Onnis, Kitchin, Doran, Brown, CI McCalman.


Project to enhance workforce capacity to embed the Aboriginal developed, trauma-informed Family Wellbeing program within health and human services.  Evaluation of the process and outcomes will be used to conduct a Social Return on Investment study of the Family Wellbeing program.


Strengthening SEWB of young people at risk of entering the criminal justice system

In development

Gair, Zuchowski, Miles, Tsey.


Collaborative project with Indigenous leadership at TAIHS Lighthouse to ascertain the perspectives and needs of local youth.

Completed projects

Psycho-social resilience, vulnerability and suicide prevention: A mentoring approach to modifying suicide risk for remote Indigenous students at boarding school

Funded by NHMRC #1076774; 2015-2019

CI Bainbridge, CI McCalman, Tsey, CI Cadet-James, Shakeshaft, Benveniste, Langham.


The project aims to test the hypothesis that students’ resilience is positively influenced by a multi-component suicide prevention intervention.