It was imperative that this paper be based on and guided by the experiences of people with mental illness and their families and carers. It was also important that the views of service providers, who have the responsibility of providing clinical and non-clinical support to people with mental illness, be incorporated. Consequently, the methodology used to develop the paper was based on ensuring that the views of all these people were presented. There were five main components to the methodology, as shown in figure 1. These components were undertaken in late 2003 and comprised:

  • Liaison with Auseinet and Auseinet Consumer and Carer Consultative Committee — The Australian Network for Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention (Auseinet) was an important resource, providing networks and information. Of particular note, Auseinet's Consumer and Carer Consultative Committee provided essential guidance. This Committee comprised consumer and carer representatives invited from all States and Territories, with New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory represented at the time of developing this paper. These people helped to access consumer and carer networks within each of the jurisdictions. Their personal experiences were also an invaluable resource, and a focus group was undertaken with the members of the Consultative Committee prior to the other consultations to develop a discussion framework.

  • National consultation with consumers and carers — Focus groups and interviews were conducted across Australia with male and female consumers of all ages and representing a cross-section of the community in terms of social, economic and cultural backgrounds, as well as their families and carers. Focus groups and interviews were generally taped and transcribed (after which the original tapes were erased) and direct quotes from these conversations are anonymously presented throughout the document. Focus groups and interviews were undertaken according to the principles outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans (NHMRC 1999). Furthermore, specific ethical issues related to undertaking research with mental health consumers were also taken into consideration (see Peterson 1999).

  • National consultation with service providers and stakeholders — The views of service providers, from both clinical and community support services, and representatives from peak mental health organisations were also obtained through focus groups and interviews conducted across Australia. Direct quotes from these conversations also are anonymously presented throughout the document.

  • Review of the national and international literatures — A review of the national and international literatures related to relapse prevention was undertaken. This involved a search of relevant computerised databases, as well as resources provided by Auseinet and some of the stakeholders contacted during the national consultations. The literature the main issues that have been researched relevant to relapse prevention for mental illness.

  • Review of current State/Territory initiatives in relapse prevention — Each State and Territory nominated a representative from the government mental health sector to provide information on current State/Territory initiatives related to relapse prevention. These representatives were personally contacted by phone and email to elicit information around current initiatives in each of the jurisdictions. This process aimed to develop an understanding of some of the major initiatives being undertaken that related to relapse prevention in each of the States and Territories, to provide a current Australian context to the discussion paper.

Figure 1. Methodology used to develop the paper

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Refer to the following text for a text equivalent of figure 1. Methodology used to develop the paper

Please note that this monograph is an up-dated version of the discussion paper developed through this methodology. The original discussion paper was entitled, Pathways of Recovery: Preventing Relapse. A discussion paper on the role of relapse prevention in the recovery process for people who have been seriously affected by mental illness. This discussion paper formed the basis of a further national consultation around the issue of relapse prevention, undertaken in late 2004. Consultations were held in all States and Territories and submissions were invited from over 50 relevant organisations. The methodology and major findings of this national consultation are documented in a separate report, and an implementation Framework was developed as an outcome of the further consultation. These supporting documents are:
- Pathways of Recovery: 4As Framework for Preventing Further Episodes of Mental Illness
- Pathways of Recovery: Report of the National Consultation on Preventing Further Episodes of Mental Illness

Text equivalent for figure 1

Methodology used to develop the paper included the following:
  • National consultation with consumers and their families and carers;
  • Review of the national and international literatures;
  • National consultation with service providers and stakeholders;
  • Review of current State/Territory initiatives in relapse prevention; and
  • Liaison with Auseinet and Auseinet consumer and carer consultative committee.
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