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A longitudinal study evaluating the effectiveness of Evolve Therapeutic Services (ETS), a Queensland mental health service for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and adolescents in care, was published in a peer review journal with the help of a QCIF biostatistician.  

Kathryn (Kathy) Eadie, who is a State-wide Service Evaluation and Research Officer at Queensland Health’s Child and Youth Mental Health Services, approached QCIF seeking statistical advice to explore the therapeutic intent of ETS and to examine the difference in functioning and mental health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children and adolescents in care.

QCIF Biostatistician Dr Farah Zahir assisted Kathy to find the right statistical methods for her longitudinal study. 

“I found the interaction and statistical support from Farah Zahir to be of the highest standard,” said Kathy. “Farah’s knowledge of research methods in general, but particularly advanced statistical methods was beyond my expertise. After my initial consultation with Farah, I was confident we had a plan to move forward.” 

For Kathy’s manuscript, Farah performed statistical analyses, provided a detailed report with the findings, had input into the ‘Method’ and ‘Results’ sections, and helped with the review and revision process.

“After a few revisions, the manuscript was accepted for publication. I can honestly say this would not have happened without the support and expertise from Farah,” said Kathy.  

The resulting paper was published online in July this year in the Australian Social Work journal with Kathy, Farah and Kathy’s colleague, Mandy Douch, as co-authors.  

The paper supports ETS’s intent to be a culturally supportive mental health program for children and adolescents in care. ETS is a tertiary-level specialist intensive trauma-informed mental health service operating within 12 hospital and health services across Queensland.

The paper’s results indicate that ETS is contributing to improving mental health outcomes, relationship problems and educational engagement for Indigenous children and adolescents. Indigenous youth showed a significantly greater improvement in antisocial behaviour, emotional symptoms and peer relationships compared to non-Indigenous consumers at discharge from the program.  

The paper helps address a gap in evaluation research conducted on the effectiveness of mental health services and intervention provided to Indigenous children and adolescents in care. 

Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) Hospital and Health Service has contracted QCIF’s biostatistics service for its researchers on the basis of two days of support per week. QCIF biostatisticians, such as Farah, help CHQ researchers with study design, data analyses and publication stages, and also deliver statistical methods seminars.  

Kathy has attended the seminars and said they have been useful in refreshing and enhancing her skills in statistical methods as they apply to her research role. 

“I will definitely seek out support from the QCIF biostatistics support team for my future research projects and professional development,” concluded Kathy.