Phase 2

Imagining Inclusion: Creating Upstream Change in Community Mental Health (2016-2019)

Imagining Inclusion: Creating Upstream Change (phase 2) is a three-year community-based participatory research partnership between Douglas CollegeOpen Door Group and York University. The Vancouver Foundation provides funding for the project and Vancouver Coastal Health is our project partner.

In this project, we wanted to build on the two models developed during the first phase of the project—Creating Upstream Change and Lived Experience of Health Work—by answering the following main question and sub-questions:

In what ways can the Creating Upstream Change Model guide down-, mid- and upstream change in community mental health?

1. What kinds of downstream change result from the co-creation and delivery of a peer leadership model? 2. What kinds of down-, mid- and upstream change result from delivering a peer-led upstream intervention? 3. Which factors impede change?
Our LONG TERM GOAL is that Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) community mental health use peer leadership models to address down-, mid- and upstream factors that shape individuals’ lives.
The project activities to achieve this goal are: 1. The delivery of peer-led upstream interventions in community mental health that are derived from the models. Our assumption is that instigating upstream change will lead to mid- and downstream change. 2. The co-creation and delivery of a peer leadership curriculum that is integrated, equitable and sustainable in community mental health. 3. The engagement of change agents in the research process who work at mid- and upstream levels.

Research Participants

are a diverse group of individuals with lived experience of mental illness, associated with two different community mental health sites,who used Photovoice to visually document their lives. Participants were given cameras to capture their responses to research questions and wrote reflections to develop a narrative for each of their photographs.


were audio recorded as participants presented their photographs and reflections to the group. Peer Researchers facilitated discussion with the groups and encouraged further exploration of the questions.


involve research participants and clients at two mental health sites participating in a program called, Telling Your Story and Being Heard. Peer participants are also involved in various tasks, including data analysis and planning photo exhibits.

Project Findings

involved peers participating in an 10 week community-based participatory research training to foster leadership and empower  peers to discover upstream opportunities and incorporate research and evaluation skills into their current work.

This project is a collaboration between:


Funded by:

Project partner: