The idea for a research and intervention study focusing on family carers was born during a meeting of VicHealth's Mental Health Working Group in 1989. Bruce Singh and Helen Herrman employed Virginia Lewis to review the literature and prepare, in consultation with them, a research proposal. Thus in recognition of the vital support for people with disabilities provided by families and other carers in the home, VicHealth funded the proposed five-year research and health promotion program under the direction of Professors Helen Herrman and Bruce Singh (chief investigators), and Professors Richard Scotton and Robin Eastwood and Dr George Szmukler (associate investigators), later joined by Associate Professors Sidney Bloch and Anna Howe. The Project Team was developed with my appointment in August 1991 to run the project on a day-to-day basis. A collaborative and lively relationship between the Team and investigators was important throughout the life of the project. We acknowledge with gratitude VicHealth's generous support, their understanding of the need for a degree of flexibility in allowing the project to evolve--for example devising interventions on the basis of our early findings--and their prescience in recognising the project's likely importance in terms of future policy directions.
Indeed, since the project's inception a vast change in community awareness of carers and their needs has taken place. Both Federal and Victorian State Governments have recently launched carer strategies which demonstrated a new commitment to carers. We are confident that our findings will contribute to the development of