Using social network analysis to measure intersectoral collaboration in the mental health system in Timor-Leste: a protocol paper

Intersectoral collaboration is fundamental to a functioning, holistic mental health system. Intersectoral collaboration is particularly important in low and middle income countries (LMIC) where it can serve to diversify the mental healthcare care workforce in the face of human resource shortages. The incoming Mental Health Strategy Timor-Leste 2016 – 2020 includes targets to foster increased Intersectoral collaboration between the formal public mental health sector and other stakeholders currently involved in mental health care provision in Timor-Leste including non-government agencies, the traditional healing sector, consumers, families and carers, and international aid bodies. This paper will discuss the application of social network analysis (SNA) to understand the nature and structure of intersectoral collaboration between key partners in the Timor-Leste mental health system. This will act as a protocol for other researchers who may wish to apply this technique in other LMIC settings. keywords: health systems leadership and governance, mental health, research methodologies 1. Intersectoral collaboration is fundamental to a functioning mental health system yet there is a dearth of evidence from LMIC. 2. Social network analysis offers a unique and pragmatic approach for understanding the nature and structure of the relationship underlying partnerships in the mental health system in Timor-Leste 3.Understanding the nature of intersectoral partnerships will allow the Timor-Leste government to target areas for strengthening ties which should improve the functionality of the mental health system.

Teresa Hall

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health

Teresa (Tess) Hall is a Research Fellow and PhD student jointly at the Centre for Mental Health and the Nossal Institute, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. She has extensive experience in mental health policy and program development and evaluation in both developed and developing country settings including Colombia, Peru, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and Australia. Tess has a passion for inclusive health development and health equity, with a particular focus on consumer-orientated policy. She has a First Class Honours in Psychological Science and a MSc Public Health from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her PhD is investigating mechanisms to support people-centred mental health system development in in Timor-Leste, including intersectoral actions. Tess speaks English and Spanish, and is learning Tetum.