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Best Practice Principles

The project developed best practice principles for engaging service users in the design and delivery of mental health, alcohol and other drugs services.

The best practice principles were developed by Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, in partnership with Queensland Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (QNADA) and Enlightened Consultants to:

  • provide guidance on the most contemporary practices relating to consumer, family and carer engagement
  • develop an engagement framework for mental health and alcohol and other drugs services.

Report and summary

The best practice principles are published in the Stretch2Engage Service Engagement Framework for Mental Health and Alcohol and other Drug Services and the Stretch2Engage summary.

Stretch2Engage provides a framework to guide efforts to increase and improve engagement in the mental health and alcohol and other drugs public and non-government sectors.

It calls for a different approach to how organisations think about engagement and sets the foundation for culture change which sees engagement as core business.

The framework includes several value domains:

  • Stretch2Be Curious Eager to know or learn
  • Stretch2Be Clear Initiatives are transparent in their reason and are easily understood
  • Stretche2Be Champion Vigorously lead, promote and support the organisation in their engagement initiatives
  • Stretch2Be Creative Use of imaginative methods to evoke new ideas
  • Stretch2Be Collective Intentionally seek out and engage people from diverse backgrounds and experiences
  • Stretch2Be Comprehensive Willing to explore all aspects and embrace divergent views
  • Stretch2Be Committed Pledge to ongoing service engagement initiatives.

The framework will help drive reform towards implementing the 2014-2019 Strategic Plan Shared Commitment to Action 1.

Lived experience, family, carer and service provider input

Approximately 250 people with lived experience using services, their families, friends and service providers were involved in:

  • identifying innovative engagement methods for service design and delivery, policy and evaluation
  • finding ways to improve engagement in the longer-term.

In-depth interviews with experts in community and business innovation, engagement and entrepreneurship were also conducted to ensure that the draft guidelines are contemporary and include principles, practices and processes that have been proven to be effective in the wider community.

Subsequently, online and face-to-face think tanks with people with experience using services, their families, friends and service providers were undertaken to uncover innovative principles and to draw upon and extend existing ways of thinking, engagement and participation.