Mental health and illness research funding in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - the first 10 years : a quantitative analysis

Kelland, Jeff R. (Jeff Ralph) (2010) Mental health and illness research funding in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - the first 10 years : a quantitative analysis. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

But does it necessarily follow, that his task is to take possession of existing science to bring it to increasing degrees of generality, and to proceed, from condensation to condensation, to what has been called the unification of knowledge? -- Henri Bergson, 1911 -- The main objective of this research is an examination of the funded research database of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to determine, and graphically illustrate, funding levels of mental health and illness research (MHIR) at CIHR as compared to other health research, and relative funding allocations within the MHIR set of research projects. As our main federally funded health research body, CIHR's funding allocations can be used as an indicator of Canada's health research priorities. This research objective is pursued with a three-part research question: (i) what proportion of health research funded by CIHR from 1999 to 2009 was allocated for MHIR; (ii) how much of this can be considered mental health research versus mental illness research; and (iii) how much of this is neuroscientific research versus non-neuroscientific research? -- This is an in-depth analysis of CIHR's funded research database; in particular, a scrutiny of the abstracts of all projects funded by the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction at CIHR in its first 10 years, and of all neuroscientific, mental health/illness and addiction related research funded in other virtual institutes and programs of CIHR over the same period. Detailed data sets with information on all relevant research projects are studied; dollar value, program type and research classification of each project are recorded; and each is categorized according to its research objective(s). Pursuit of the present study's research objective demands a methodological design driven primarily by analysis of the data itself. This heuristic process unfolds according to what is found, and produces results on multiple levels with tabular and graphic illustrations when necessary. A clear and practicable distinction between mental health research and mental illness research is employed, and the implications of this distinction for the study's research method are explored. -- The results point to one overriding conclusion: Ostensibly, MHIR as a whole is adequately funded at CIHR, but there is ample evidence that allocations within MHIR may not satisfactorily address all the concerns falling under its extensive mandate. In particular, mental illnesses may well be under-funded and under-researched. Thus closer scrutiny of CIHR's funding allocations within its MHIR, both quantitative and qualitative, is required on a number of levels. Based on the extensive but nevertheless preliminary nature of the present study, further research could ultimately call into question the perceived sufficiency of CIHR's overall funding of MHIR. -- Recommendations for future research are derived from two principal sources: 1) the methodological challenges met in the course of the analysis and its results; and 2) the unexpected limitations discovered in generating the results. The value of the findings for mental health/illness advocacy and for CIHR itself is discussed, as well as the influence of CIHR's funding allocation policies, or lack thereof, on the quality and quantity of the MHIR it conducts. This leads to consideration of Canada's level of commitment to this research area, particularly in light of the burden and prevalence of mental illness in Canada, and the fundamental importance of mental health.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8856
Item ID: 8856
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 124-138).
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 2010
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction; Psychiatry--Research grants--Canada; Psychiatry--Research--Canada; Psychiatry--Canada--Databases
Medical Subject Heading: Psychiatry--economics--Canada; Research

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