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Process and outcomes of training in psychosocial interventions in mental health: A stepwise approach to evaluation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Derek Milne, Dr Chiara Lombardo, Dr Claire Dickinson


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Background: Staff training is increasingly validated as the foundation for evidence-based practice (EBP) in the National Health Service, yet (paradoxically) the evidence-base for such training is weak. Aims: To propose and illustrate how a proper evidence-base might be developed. Method: Two cohorts comprising a total of 36 mental health practitioners from various disciplines participated in a one-year, part-time postgraduate training in psychosocial interventions (PSI). Evaluations of their training programme and of their learning were carried out, using observational and self-report methods. Additionally, outcomes for users (n = 24) who received PSI from the first cohort of trainees were assessed using standardized measures of mental health, quality of life, and users' opinions (gathered with a user-designed questionnaire). These outcomes were compared to those of a comparison group of users (n = 105) receiving standard mental health care elsewhere. Results: The programme was delivered according to specification and was highly regarded by the trainees. Evaluations of their learning indicated that there were significant improvements in their knowledge base and in their use of PSIs following training, with no adverse impacts on their work. This finding was replicated for the second cohort of staff. There was evidence that those users who had received PSI improved more, in terms of social and relationships skills, than would have been expected if they had received standard community mental health care from staff who had not been trained in PSIs. Conclusions: The methods used illustrated the feasibility of assessing a stepwise series of learning outcomes within a comprehensive evaluation. The findings reflected favourably on the programme and contribute to EBP. Declaration of interest: This study was funded by the NHS, and one of the researchers had pre-existing collegial relationships with key members of the training team. © Shadowfax Publishing and Informa UK Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Carpenter J, Milne D, Lombardo C, Dickinson C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Mental Health

Year: 2007

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 505-520

Print publication date: 01/08/2007

ISSN (print): 0963-8237

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0567

Publisher: Informa Healthcare


DOI: 10.1080/09638230701482329


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