Our findings demonstrate that mental-health-related grants were tangentially aligned with two GCRF Strategic Challenge Portfolios: (i) Security Protracted Conflict, Refugee Crises and Forced Displacement, and (ii) Education. With regard to the latter, Case Study 1 illustrates how educational organisations can be both the source and site of interventions to enhance the life chances of young people and the vitality of the communities served.
Levelling the Playing Field: Assessing Through Equity the Quality of Chilean Schools
Proposed activities of this project are described on the Gateway to Research as aiming to support social cohesion and to “work against educational segregation by describing a more favourable picture of schools that educate pupils coming from more disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds” (para 3). To do so, policy documents were analysed and local policymakers and researchers interviewed about their views on value-added measures “designed to make fair comparisons between schools […] by adjusting for various background factors and prior attainment by the individual child” (para 1). During fieldwork in Chile, the fellow “worked with local policymakers, particularly at the Ministry of Education and the Quality Agency in Education supporting government’s thinking around innovative school accountability and school improvement methods to account for inequality when assessing school performance” (Outcomes para 3). Hence, the target groups of this project which could be the focus of psychosocial wellbeing impacts were identified by the coders as school children and their families in Chile, and potentially other LMIC in the region. During interview, the fellow reflected on more potential beneficiaries, saying, “because most of the schools that are described and categorised as failures, usually head teachers and the whole community, they experience a lot of mental health issues.”
The project was considered by coders to engage implicitly with the psychosocial wellbeing of target groups through highlighting the contextual factors that can feed into value added statistics in Chilean schools as a means of reducing vulnerability, social exclusion, and sense of failing associated with inequalities in the distribution of wealth. Both agreed that, had only minor changes been made to the project, there were opportunities to impact all six types of psychosocial impact. It was also recognised that, while the main impact focus was policy, psychosocial impacts may have been explored, possibly in the data collection stage, and to have been secondary benefits which went unreported. The fellow said, “I realised that I have lost an opportunity for bringing wellbeing” and reflected on what would have assisted her to have incorporated psychosocial wellbeing impacts more explicitly: “availability of data and more flexibility and overall design and longer-term projects.”
In terms of material practices, both coders agreed that texts, including data sets, policy briefings, and interviews with local policymakers and researchers could have created a focus to enhance psychosocial wellbeing with target groups. The fellow concurred: “my project wasn’t thinking about wellbeing or improving mental health as an impact. But I could see, at the end of the project, the scope for that, especially after conducting the qualitative work”.