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Training frontline community agency staff in dialectical behaviour therapy: building capacity to meet the mental health needs of street-involved youth

Elizabeth McCay (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Celina Carter (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Andria Aiello (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Susan Quesnel (Department of Psychiatry, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada)
Carol Howes (Covenant House, Toronto, Canada)
Heather Beanlands (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
John Langley (Department of Psychiatry, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada)
Bruce MacLaurin (Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)
Steven Hwang (Centre for Research on Inner City Health, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada)
Linda Cooper (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)
Christina Lord (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 13 March 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) training which was provided to community agency staff (N=18) implementing DBT in the community with street-involved youth.

Design/methodology/approach

Staff participated in a multi-component approach to training which consisted of webinars, online training, self-study manuals, and ongoing peer consultation. To evaluate assess the effectiveness of the training, questionnaires assessing evaluating DBT skills knowledge, behavioral anticipation and confidence, and DBT skills use, were completed at baseline, immediately post-training, four to six months post-training, and 12-16 months post-training. Additionally, the mental health outcomes for youth receiving the DBT intervention are reported to support the effectiveness of the training outcomes.

Findings

Results demonstrate that the DBT skills, knowledge, and confidence of community agency staff improved significantly from pre to post-training and that knowledge and confidence were sustained over time. Additionally, the training was clinically effective as demonstrated by the significant improvement in mental health outcomes for street-involved youth participating in the intervention.

Practical implications

Findings suggest that this evidence-based intervention can be taught to a range of staff working in community service agencies providing care to street-involved youth and that the intervention can be delivered effectively.

Originality/value

These findings help to close the knowledge-practice gap between evidence-based treatment (EBT) research and practice while promoting the implementation of EBT in the community to enhance positive youth outcomes.

Keywords

Citation

McCay, E., Carter, C., Aiello, A., Quesnel, S., Howes, C., Beanlands, H., Langley, J., MacLaurin, B., Hwang, S., Cooper, L. and Lord, C. (2017), "Training frontline community agency staff in dialectical behaviour therapy: building capacity to meet the mental health needs of street-involved youth", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 121-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-07-2015-0034

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited