Inter-Agency Training in Child Mental Health: Tier 1 Professionals' Perspectives

Alvina Ali, Specialist Registrar, Leicestershire CAMHS
Khalid Karim
Lisa Marriott-Anderson

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Background: The development of tier 1 services within a comprehensive CAMHS requires joint care pathways, consultation and training. Training should enhance skills and capacity in recognition and management of less complex child mental health problems, and effective utilisation of specialist resources. Such an inter-agency child mental health-training programme has been jointly funded by Local Authority and Health commissioners, and has been running for the last six years. This consists of a Foundation two-day course and specialist training days.

Aims: To establish tier 1 practitioners' perceptions of the quality and context of the Foundation child mental health training, and their recommendations for future training to improve their capacity.
Methods: During a three-year period, 22 events took place, and were attended by 317 participants from various disciplines. These were provided by primary mental health workers, educational psychologists and specialist CAMHS practitioners. Evaluation forms were completed after the training, and were designed as a mixture of Likert rating scales (0-5), and open questions to elicit quantitative and qualitative responses. The latter were analysed by thematic methods.

Results: Participants demonstrated high levels of satisfaction in terms of quality of teaching (mean 4.3), clarity of objectives (mean 4.4), meeting their expectations (mean 4.3), and facilitation of learning (mean 4.2). There was, however, significant variation between events in relation to structure (p=0.000) and preparation of presenters (p=0.003). Identified themes were increased knowledge, networking, access to resources, understanding inter-agency working and the remit of CAMHS. The majority stated that similar training would help enhance confidence, clarify and prioritise interventions.

Conclusions: In keeping with national priorities, this training appears to fulfil an important role in supporting and enhancing Tier 1 services. However, it is important that the training is maintained at a high level, with regular reviews of the materials and delivery, and there is evaluation of its impact upon practice.

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