The role of primary mental health workers in child and adolescent mental health services in Scotland
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Article publication date: 11 December 2009
It is estimated that approximately 10% of children and young people in Scotland have mental health problems (Scottish Government, 2008), resulting in a rapidly increasing need for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). Primary mental health workers (PMHW) have been identified as one of the key professional groups within a multidisciplinary CAMHS team to progress the agenda of early intervention and identification of mental health problems among children and young people. One discrete aspect of the PMHW role is the facilitation and delivery of consultation services to a wide range of agencies. Consultation, in this context, is understood as a community activity for disseminating knowledge, creating understanding and facilitating non‐CAMH professionals to support children and young people with psychological difficulties (Scottish Executive, 2005). This paper discusses a smallscale study that aims to deconstruct the concept of consultation and explore the professional expertise and service requirements necessary for effective delivery. It concludes that complex and multifaceted skills are required if a consultation is to be meaningful and effective. Consequently, and despite competing discourse, there remains a strong debate for retaining the role of the PMHW, specifically for the delivery of early intervention and health promotion activities, such as consultation. The study took place in Scotland, but UK‐wide data is drawn on to provide a more comprehensive picture.
Conlon, M. (2009), "The role of primary mental health workers in child and adolescent mental health services in Scotland", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 21-25. https://doi.org/10.1108/17556228200900029
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