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Health Soc Care Community. 2002 Sep;10(5):323-30.

Mental health training and development needs of community agency staff.

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  • 1Institute for Applied Health and Social Policy, King's College London, London, UK.


Emphasis has long been placed in UK national policy on providing 'seamless' mental health services to meet both the health and social care needs of service users. While attention has been paid to the training required by specialist mental health and primary care staff in order to achieve this, the needs of other community agency staff have received less attention. The present article describes a study designed to identify the training needs of staff working within a broad range of agencies. Focus group discussions were used to explore participants' experiences of mental health problems amongst clients, their confidence in dealing with these, current sources of support and perceived training needs. The results indicate that participants in all agencies routinely encountered a range of problems. Colleagues were the main source of support, followed by line managers, but supervision structures and wider organisational support were lacking in some cases. Joint working with specialist mental health services was almost universally problematic and all groups identified a range of training needs. On the basis of the results, the present authors put forward suggestions as to how these needs might be met.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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