The Collaborative Learning Group (CLG) aims to enhance the capacity of a targeted group of mental health practitioners, researchers, and policy makers responsible for implementing and evaluating the SMHP in EMR countries. The collaborative learning element to this model emphasises bi-directional learning through sharing the rich experience and knowledge brought to the group by all.
Established in 2016 and lasting for 5 years, CLG workshops of 3-4 days are convened bi-annually CLG participants are drawn from the SHINE partner countries: Pakistan, Egypt, Iran, and Jordan. CLG activities are structured around three key thematic areas:
- Contextual adaptations of the SMHP intervention to each country setting
- Policy engagement to advocate for integration and scale-up of the SMHP into routine service provision and
- Using implementation science frameworks, tools, and methods to evaluate the SMHP implementation.
In addition to these core thematic areas, CLG workshops also focus on building transferable skills such as writing for publication, developing funding applications. These sessions are intended to build wider skills related to implementation science research, for example by ensuring results from research activities are effectively disseminated.
CLG activities are coordinated by three facilitators from the UK and USA – two researchers and one clinician researcher – who have expertise in implementation science, mixed methods research, and intervention development and adaptation. Additional guest sessions have also been delivered, for example a session on policy engagement from the World Health Organisation Eastern Mediterranean Regional Advisor for Mental Health and Addiction Treatment.
The content covered at each workshop builds upon and extends previous learning, aiming to target key skills or introduce frameworks relevant to the stage of SMHP implementation. Workshops comprise a mix of didactic facilitator-led training, peer-to-peer presentations, small and full group discussions, and self-directed learning. An online learning environment supports a blended learning approach, facilitating access to resources and discussion between in-person workshops. This is complemented by quarterly online meetings to discuss progress with SMHP implementation and CLG activities. Each CLG workshop is evaluated through group feedback discussions and a brief questionnaire completed by participants and facilitators after each workshop.