A pilot study of dual diagnosis training in prisons

Elizabeth Hughes (Centre for Clinical and Academic Workforce Innovation, University of Lincoln)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Publication date: 11 December 2006


People with dual diagnosis have complex needs and vulnerabilities that may lead to incarceration in prisons. Mental health and substance use services in prisons should have the capabilities to address their needs while incarcerated and facilitate the transfer of care to community services on release. In order to develop these capabilities, a training programme is required.A pilot training programme for dual diagnosis was developed and piloted in five London prisons. The training was based on a training needs assessment of prison staff and consultation with service users. It was delivered in two forms: a five‐day classroom based course, and a ‘blended learning’ method that comprised a manual and three sessions of supervision. The course was evaluated by a brief questionnaire that included items on attitudes, self‐efficacy and knowledge about working with dual diagnosis.The evaluation of the training revealed that all workers, no matter what method of training they received increased their perception of their skills (self‐efficacy) and increased their attitudes. Knowledge remained the same (although the scores pre‐training were high). There was no difference between the two types of training when mean scores were compared at post‐training. There was also no difference between the mental health and substance workers regarding their mean scores at follow‐up, apart from knowledge.The conclusion is that the training pilot was evaluated positively and did indicate that it has some effect on attitudes and self‐efficacy. More rigorous evaluation of the impact of the training is required, using a robust methodology and assessing the impact on clinical skills and service user outcomes.



Hughes, E. (2006), "A pilot study of dual diagnosis training in prisons", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 5-14. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556228200600025

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