Researching for LGBTQ Health

Key Practices for Community Engagement in Research on Mental Health or Substance Use

In fields such as Indigenous health and HIV, the principles of community-based research (CBR) have successfully become ‘mainstream’, where even major research funders expect them to be integrated in research on these topics. In contrast, relatively little research in the areas of mental health or substance use integrates the principles of CBR, and as such, communities of individuals with lived experience of mental health services and/or drug use have less often had opportunities to experience the potential benefits associated with CBR, both in terms of capacity building and research resulting in social change. The goal of this project was to increase meaningful engagement of people with lived experience in research on mental health or substance use, by producing a guidance document for academic researchers working in this field.

This project was initiated by members of the CAMH Community Advisory Committee for Research, and was carried out by a working group of people with collective experience as researchers, research participants, patient advocates, and service providers.

Together, we identified 10 key practices for community engagement that we felt were particularly relevant to research on mental health or substance use, and highlighted important issues that need to be considered when operationalizing them in this context. You can read and share the full document. We have also produced a shorter version of the document for community members interested in partnering with scientists on research on these topics.


  • Working group members: Lori Ross, Joyce Brown, Jennifer Chambers, Michele Heath, Sheryl Lindsay, Brenda Roche, and Jijian Voronka
  • Please see the document for a full list of contributors and funders of this project

Project Outcomes: