A snapshot of the role of social workers in multidisciplinary child and adolescent mental health teams in the Republic of Ireland [thesis] / by Margaret Lisa Brennan

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/91279
Title:
A snapshot of the role of social workers in multidisciplinary child and adolescent mental health teams in the Republic of Ireland [thesis] / by Margaret Lisa Brennan
Other Titles:
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences in partical fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of masters of science in health services management
Authors:
Brennan, Margaret Lisa
Affiliation:
Health Service Executive (HSE)
Publisher:
University of Dublin (Trinity College)
Issue Date:
Sep-2009
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10147/91279
Item Type:
Thesis
Language:
en
Description:
This study sought to describe and explore the role and practice of social work in multidisciplinary child and adolescent mental health teams in the republic of Ireland (CAMHS). There was little existing literature in the area and the issue of role definition was of interest to social workers in practice in CAMHS. The area of role definition in CAMHS generally is also of interest to health service managers as there is concern about long waiting lists in some parts of the country. The literature review pointed to social work as a socially constructed profession often defined externally to the profession and determined by agency context. A qualitative approach was adopted to gain an in -depth insight into the social work description and perception of role and contribution to the multi disciplinary team. The impact, if any, of individual social workers further training on the development of social work roles in child and adolescent mental health teams was also explored. Semi structured interviews were held with ten social workers currently in practice in specialist child and adolescent mental health teams. The participants represented all grades of social workers and a variety of employing agencies and geographical areas. The interviews were audio taped with the permission of the participants and transcribed by the researcher. The data collected was analysed using thematic analysis to identify significant themes and to compare the experiences of the participants. The findings were drawn from this analysis. The study found that there is not a universal, discrete social work role in child and adolescent mental health teams in the republic of Ireland; the development of the social work role is impacted upon by factors external to the teams, the further training undertaken by individual social workers and the particular skills and interests of social workers and other team members. Considerable overlap in roles among the various disciplines involved in the multidisciplinary teams was noted. Social workers are involved in direct intervention with children and families and indirect intervention with schools and local community initiatives. Participant social workers are also very involved in education offering practice placements to social work students and teaching on third level courses in social work and related fields. The main focus of social work intervention is with parents but not to the exclusion of direct work with young people. Social workers reported changes in the social work role to a primarily therapeutic activity with practice being determined by skills, competencies and individual interests than by discipline training. Social workers in child and adolescent mental health services have tended to pursue further training in particular therapeutic modalities such as family therapy which has varying impacts on their practice of social work. The study found some differences in practice in relation to the use of social worker as a title with some participants using the title of therapist. While individual casework was the most common intervention, social workers in child and adolescent mental health also report significant involvement in providing group work interventions to children and parents. Social workers view their particular contribution to the multi disciplinary child and adolescent mental health team as offering a social perspective to compliment the medical understanding of mental health issues in childhood and adolescence. Social workers also see themselves as becoming involved with the more complex and difficult presentations. The area of involvement in cases where there are child protection and welfare concerns varies widely from team to team. A key finding was the impact of external factors such as the availability of resources within the team and in the local community on the practice of social work in CAMHS. The current focus on reducing waiting lists and increasing the number of clinical contacts is causing concern for participant social workers who fear that the capacity to engage in long term complex work with children and families will be reduced. The study points to the need for further research in the area of role definition in CAMHS and to the need for further development of continuing professional development opportunities for social workers.
Keywords:
CHILD; YOUNG PEOPLE; MENTAL HEALTH; SOCIAL WORKER
Local subject classification:
MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM; MULTIDISPLINARY TEAM

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorBrennan, Margaret Lisaen
dc.date.accessioned2010-02-05T16:10:06Z-
dc.date.available2010-02-05T16:10:06Z-
dc.date.issued2009-09-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10147/91279-
dc.descriptionThis study sought to describe and explore the role and practice of social work in multidisciplinary child and adolescent mental health teams in the republic of Ireland (CAMHS). There was little existing literature in the area and the issue of role definition was of interest to social workers in practice in CAMHS. The area of role definition in CAMHS generally is also of interest to health service managers as there is concern about long waiting lists in some parts of the country. The literature review pointed to social work as a socially constructed profession often defined externally to the profession and determined by agency context. A qualitative approach was adopted to gain an in -depth insight into the social work description and perception of role and contribution to the multi disciplinary team. The impact, if any, of individual social workers further training on the development of social work roles in child and adolescent mental health teams was also explored. Semi structured interviews were held with ten social workers currently in practice in specialist child and adolescent mental health teams. The participants represented all grades of social workers and a variety of employing agencies and geographical areas. The interviews were audio taped with the permission of the participants and transcribed by the researcher. The data collected was analysed using thematic analysis to identify significant themes and to compare the experiences of the participants. The findings were drawn from this analysis. The study found that there is not a universal, discrete social work role in child and adolescent mental health teams in the republic of Ireland; the development of the social work role is impacted upon by factors external to the teams, the further training undertaken by individual social workers and the particular skills and interests of social workers and other team members. Considerable overlap in roles among the various disciplines involved in the multidisciplinary teams was noted. Social workers are involved in direct intervention with children and families and indirect intervention with schools and local community initiatives. Participant social workers are also very involved in education offering practice placements to social work students and teaching on third level courses in social work and related fields. The main focus of social work intervention is with parents but not to the exclusion of direct work with young people. Social workers reported changes in the social work role to a primarily therapeutic activity with practice being determined by skills, competencies and individual interests than by discipline training. Social workers in child and adolescent mental health services have tended to pursue further training in particular therapeutic modalities such as family therapy which has varying impacts on their practice of social work. The study found some differences in practice in relation to the use of social worker as a title with some participants using the title of therapist. While individual casework was the most common intervention, social workers in child and adolescent mental health also report significant involvement in providing group work interventions to children and parents. Social workers view their particular contribution to the multi disciplinary child and adolescent mental health team as offering a social perspective to compliment the medical understanding of mental health issues in childhood and adolescence. Social workers also see themselves as becoming involved with the more complex and difficult presentations. The area of involvement in cases where there are child protection and welfare concerns varies widely from team to team. A key finding was the impact of external factors such as the availability of resources within the team and in the local community on the practice of social work in CAMHS. The current focus on reducing waiting lists and increasing the number of clinical contacts is causing concern for participant social workers who fear that the capacity to engage in long term complex work with children and families will be reduced. The study points to the need for further research in the area of role definition in CAMHS and to the need for further development of continuing professional development opportunities for social workers.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherUniversity of Dublin (Trinity College)en
dc.subjectCHILDen
dc.subjectYOUNG PEOPLEen
dc.subjectMENTAL HEALTHen
dc.subjectSOCIAL WORKERen
dc.subject.otherMULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM-
dc.subject.otherMULTIDISPLINARY TEAM-
dc.titleA snapshot of the role of social workers in multidisciplinary child and adolescent mental health teams in the Republic of Ireland [thesis] / by Margaret Lisa Brennanen
dc.title.alternativeA dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences in partical fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of masters of science in health services managementen
dc.typeThesisen
dc.contributor.departmentHealth Service Executive (HSE)en
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