A decade of evidence-based training for work with people with serious mental health problems: Progress in the development of psychosocial interventions


Over the last ten years, the policy of successive governments in the United Kingdom has been to focus service provision on people who experience serious mental health problems. Policy pronouncements have recently culminated with the publication of 'Modernising mental health services' (DoH, 1998). This new vision commits funding to a whole new raft of initiatives one of which is described as 'more and better trained staff'. The training of mental health professionals in skills subsumed under the title of 'psychosocial interventions' (PSI) has been provided in formal accredited programmes since 1992. The programmes aim to teach mental health professionals the skills to work with people with serious mental health problems with curricula that are based upon research evidence about effective interventions. This paper describes the development of 'psychosocial intervention' training to date. It reviews the studies that have evaluated the impact of such training. It concludes that whilst investment in PSI training may bring some benefits several major issues require resolution including: the implementation of evidence-based interventions in routine clinical settings; the constant review of PSI curriculum design in line with resources; finally, there is a pressing need for PSI trainers/teachers and commissioners to articulate the manner in which they involve service users and their families

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