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We aimed to develop, deliver and evaluate a brief training programme for primary care mental health staff in NW London focussing on long-term physical health conditions (LTCs). The objective was to improve participants’ knowledge, understanding and confidence (self-efficacy) in providing effective support to people with LTCs. The second objective was to develop an online version to be made available more widely.
The project was commissioned by NW London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups as part of a strategy to develop more joined up care and support for people with mental health needs. Training was developed by a team of experts, with input from commissioners, service users, clinicians and service managers.
Training was delivered via two-day interactive workshops providing: (i) key facts (informed by a review of published research and publically available health information); (ii) opportunity to engage with the ‘lived experience’ of people with LTCs (via videos, role plays, case studies and group discussion); (iii) skills-based training (in specific assessment and intervention methods). Knowledge, understanding and confidence (with respect to supporting people with LTCs) were assessed at the start and end of the training. An online training programme (with embedded evaluation questionnaire) was also developed, covering the same themes as the workshop.
Mental health staff (n=60) reported limited knowledge, understanding and confidence before the workshop, underlining the need for training. Knowledge of LTCs improved significantly following training (P<0.0001), along with awareness of the impact of poor psychological wellbeing on physical health (P<0.05) and the role of psychological therapies in supporting people with LTCs (P<0.0001). Self-efficacy also improved (P<0.001). Online training was accessed by 894 participants in the first six months and 187 provided feedback via the evaluation questionnaire. Responses indicated that participants found the training useful (88%), interesting (91%) and easy to understand (97%).
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