The aim of the SAMRC’s Mental Health, Alcohol, Substance Use and Tobacco Research Unit (MASTRU) is to conduct and facilitate high quality scientific research to inform policy, healthcare services, and interventions which promote mental health and/or reduce harmful effects of substance use in South Africa.
Key focus areas
- Collect accurate epidemiological data about the prevalence, aetiology, and consequences of substance use and mental health problems.
- Design and rigorously evaluate interventions to reduce substance use and promote mental health.
- Identify effective elements (i.e., active ingredients) of prevention and treatment programmes.
- Identify predictors of treatment response to various substance use and mental health interventions to understand who will benefit from these interventions (i.e., precision medicine framework).
- Investigate how best to implement sustainable evidence-based prevention and treatment programmes in increasingly complex community, education, health, workplace, and other social service environments.
- Facilitate the implementation of scientific advances and evidence-based interventions through knowledge translation, advocacy work and providing accurate and timely information to policy makers and service providers.
- Develop and evaluate instruments to measure substance use and mental health problems and outcomes.