CREATING AND USING EVIDENCE
The University of Birmingham (UK) has launched a Policy Commission report calling for increased investment in the prevention of poor mental health. The report comes at a time when half of life-long mental health problems show their first signs by the age of 15, and three quarters by the age of 25, and evidence that the rates of mental health problems amongst young people are increasing. The Commission Report, therefore, identifies childhood and adolescence as a critical opportunity to prevent and promote better mental health. In this post, Karen Newbigging discusses the report and implications from this work.
Mental health problems in young people are increasing. Suicide remains a leading cause of death in those aged 15-24 worldwide. The majority of mental health problems develop before the age of 25 but have their roots usually in childhood and teenage years. If left untreated, mental health problems can persist into adulthood with poorer prognosis and greater disability over the life course. In this blog post, Maria Michail, Jo Robinson, Tina Yutong Li, Sadhbh Byrne explore how primary care services can become more accessible and acceptable to vulnerable young people. This post has been co-produced with young people with lived experience of mental-ill health and highlights the importance of making primary care health services more accessible, acceptable and equitable for vulnerable young people.
In his article for The Mandarin, David Donaldson reports on an inquiry into social impact investment (SII) for housing and homelessness, led by the Centre for Social for Impact. This inquiry, which was prepared for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, addresses three key questions:
What is SII and how can it be applied to housing and homelessness policy in Australia?
What are the actual, potential and perceived opportunities, risks and/or barriers of SII for housing and homelessness policy in Australia?
How can SII be applied to housing policy in the Australian context?
In this piece, Pauline Zardo uses an analysis of The Conversation Annual Survey to consider what influences policy decision-makers' use of research. Increasing access to research is the key. Pauline's piece was first published on the LSE Impact Blog.
Housing First is an approach to address homelessness that prioritises providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness. Here Professor Sarah Johnsen from Heriot Watt University in the UK reflects on what it is about Housing First that fosters such positive housing (and other) outcomes.
Academics are increasingly exhorted to ensure their research has policy “impact”. But is this ambition predicated on an overly simplistic understanding of the policy process? Christina Boswell and Katherine Smith set out four different approaches to theorising the relationship between knowledge and policy and consider what each of these suggests about approaches to incentivising and measuring research impact.
Research assessment exercises provide the government and wider public with assurance of the quality of university research, with the guiding principles being accountability, transparency, and openness. But is there the same accountability and openness when it comes to the public cost of these large-scale exercises?
Governments value evidence-based policy; but are policy makers using all possible evidence to inform their decisions? Dr. Anna N. Li, Postdoctoral Fellow at UNSW Canberra argues that "soft, qualitative, practice-based evidence can be used to better inform decision making by providing frontline, implementation information, which can increase the chance of policy success.
Stalking as a phenomenon has been noted in human behaviour for well over a century. References to obsessive behaviour and the need to retain intimacy with another person can be seen in the writing of Victorian author, Louise May Alcott, who wrote Little Women. In her novel, A Long Fatal Love Chase, a woman is chased across the seas for years by her estranged husband, until he mistakenly kills her whilst trying to murder her new partner. Holding her dead body in his arms, the ‘stalker’ then kills himself and as he does so he says “Mine first - mine last – mine even in the grave!” This obsession to the point of murder is not a sensational, fictitious idea but a behaviour which is worryingly still prevalent within our society in 2017. In this blog post Victoria Charleston, Policy Officer at Suzy Lamplugh Trust explores stalking and potential implications for policy.
Economist Nicholas Gruen looks at problems with various attempts to measure wellbeing and the struggle to get from noble principles to practical outcomes. This is a repost from the Mandarin of a part three of Nicholas Gruen’s essay series about the difficulty of translating policy into outcomes. Read part one, on wellbeing frameworks, and part two on commonsense hacks government could use to bolster Australians’ wellbeing.