We examined community mental health center staff perceptions of ongoing research within their agency. We interviewed upper management and conducted focus groups with medical staff, non-medical clinicians, and administrative staff. Participants were asked about (1) their attitudes towards research in general, agency research and towards the principal academic institution doing research with clients, (2) their perceptions of the value of research and (3) ideas for improving the collaboration. We identified 5 overarching themes: inter-agency communication, shared goals and equality in research, researchers adding knowledge to the agency, improving attitudes toward research, and agency involvement in research. Under these domains, specific suggestions are made for how to improve the collaboration across all stakeholder groups. Lack of shared values and inadequate communication processes can negatively impact community-based research collaborations. However, clear strategies, and adequate resources have great potential to improve community mental health collaborations.
Academic–community partnerships Health services research Mental health services Qualitative research
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This research was supported by NIMH grant #R24MH072830.
Conflict of interest
None for any author.
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