Stress, coping and support for those working within Mental Health Services – the role of the Community Mental Health Team, Clinical Psychologist.
thesisposted on 16.02.2009, 13:15 by Rachel Lucas
Those working within mental health services experience considerable stress. Organisational change from hospital to community based, and single to multi-disciplinary provision of services, has been linked with increased stress due to heightened role ambivalence and/or role conflict. The empirical evidence for this supposition is reviewed. Evidence suggests that role ambivalence and/or role conflict is a stress of mid-range prevalence for mental health workers. There is some evidence that organisational changes heighten this stress and indication that home/work role conflict is a particular source of distress which is actively managed by workers. Clinical psychology is identified within the review as a profession which is notable in experiencing role stressors within the current community mental health team (CMHT) structures. This is also a profession that have skills which could be of particular assistance in ameliorating stressors. The thesis reports a qualitative study investigating the experiences of CMHT clinical psychologists of giving and receiving support to and from colleagues. Findings suggest that although clinical psychologists’ consider supporting colleagues part of their role, they experience difficulty in this function within their CMHT working. Key issues regarding this and patterns of support are identified, with consideration of the positioning of psychologists within CMHT and peer group subsystems. The implications of attempting to foster and maintain effective cycles of support within this work setting are discussed. The research process is also critically appraised and issues learned and how these inform future research and practice outlined.