Research collaborators at the 2018 International Recovery & Citizenship Collective (IRCC) Symposium - (L to R): Drs. Nicola Cogan, Maria O’Connell, Rosana Campos, Gillian MacIntyre, and Michael Rowe.


Ongoing Research and Scholarship in the CCC

There are many current/ongoing research projects in the CCC, many of which are summarized here. To view previously completed research projects, please see the link for published studies (hyperlink).

In the CCC, we value participatory research in which stakeholders are essential and integral to all stages of research. We also value research broadly defined – in all of our projects, we are continually learning and watching and evaluating the project and its impact in multiple ways including qualitative, quantitative, and observational data.

The experience and personal effects of FACE group participation – Qualitative interviews were conducted with FACE members and leadership examining the experience of being in the FACE group and how it has affected one’s larger relationship to the community and citizenship. 12 interviews have been conducted and are being analyzed using a participatory process and phenomenological analysis.

The impact of the Citizens Project – The Citizens Project has been ongoing for 18 years. Evaluation of this project has continued alongside the intervention including a previously published study of outcomes (list some of them here and also reference publication page). Current research involves looking at the impact of participating in the project on graduates’ citizenship. Future research intends to examine the effect of citizenship on further outcomes including quality of life, recovery, social determinants of health (housing, employment, healthcare access, social capital), behavioral and physical health, future criminal involvement, and re-incarceration.

Evaluating the “Recovering Citizenship” learning collaborative – Agencies funded by CT DMHAS have been participating monthly for 18 months in a “learning collaborative” where agency staff learn about conducting citizenship-oriented care at their agencies and share successes and struggles with other learning collaborative members. Topics have included improving financial health of clients, social determinants of health, structural competency, partnering with the community, and improving clients’ voter rights. An evaluation of the feasibility, acceptability, and tolerability of this learning collaborative is ongoing throughout the training.

The impact of Musical Intervention – A mixed method (qualitative, quantitative) evaluation of the community intervention Musical Intervention (hyperlink) that aims to encourage and record musicianship in the greater New Haven community has been completed and is being written up for publication. The evaluation examined how Musical Intervention works as well as the experience of its participants and how it has affected their lives.

Transformative education, citizenship and activism in Scotland and the USA – Through an international partnership with Strathclyde University, Scotland which is funded by the European “Citizenship, Recovery and Inclusive Societies Partnership” (CRISP) project, we are conducting a qualitative study exploring the links between education, agency and community organising/activism in Scotland and the USA.  This project will include interviews with graduates of Citizens Project who have moved on to the FACE group and/or other forms of community organizing in New Haven and also graduates of a course developed in Scotland called “Mad People’s History and Identity.” It aims to add to our understanding of informal or transformative education, citizenship and activism for people with experience of mental health issues.

Financial health research: Financial capability and mental health – We conduct research on how to help people with mental illness who control their own funds do better with their money. Our NIMH R34 grant funded study‘Financial and Mental Health: Exploratory Research and Model Development’tested supports, including one-on-one financial counseling, peer facilitated group support, and a savings club. We are working closely with the  New Haven Financial Empowerment Center (FEC), which offers free one-on-one financial counseling to all residents, advising their work directly and through a collaboration with the Yale School of Management whereby students conduct specific research projects related to the FEC’s work. We are also planning research which would help us understand how to ensure that the financial counseling they offer to New Haven residents is fully inclusive of and meets the needs of people with mental illness.

Financial health research: Supported Financial Decision Making – People with mental illness may have very different types of support needs when it comes to their finances, and these needs may change at different times of a person’s life. We are researching how financial technology can help meet people’s needs across this spectrum, including through a Center For Retirement Research Sandell Grantfunded “Looking Beyond the Payee” research project. We are also working with the Yale Law School Community and Economic Development Clinic to develop guidelines for banks to create financial products and services that enable people to get the support they need while maximizing their independent financial control. Specifically, we are promoting view-only accounts for people who need guidance but not loss of financial control, as well as alerts and spending limits. You can see more in our Banking for All report.

Financial health research: Debt and mental health – Recognizing that there are many types of debt that impact people with mental illness, the Financial Health project is beginning to research the issue in more detail, including exploring what data is available about the types of debt that affect low-income and otherwise vulnerable populations. An ongoing project entitled “Criminal Justice related Debt and Mental Health: Barriers to Re-entry and Recovery,” funded by the Fahs-Beck Foundation for Research and Experimentation, is exploring the impact of debt, including criminal-justice debt, on the recovery and re-entry of people with serious mental illness coming out of incarceration, and on their social networks. As part of this study, we conducted a scoping review to assess existing research on debt and incarceration. We also have funding from the Johns Hopkins University 21st Century Cities initiative for our New Haven Dept Map project, conducting mixed methods, community-based research exploring debt among low- and moderate-income people in New Haven. We are planning future research on this topic, including about the impact of utility arrears and disconnections on people with mental illness, and the impact of debt specifically on people with lived experience of mental illness working in the field of peer support.

Financial health research: Benefits and mental health – The Financial Health project is considering the implications of a Universal Basic Income on people with mental illness.