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Social Work in Community Mental Health Teams:
An Ethnographic Study with Two Community Mental Health Teams

LIYANAGE, LAKSHIKA,SAJEEVANIE (2012) Social Work in Community Mental Health Teams:
An Ethnographic Study with Two Community Mental Health Teams.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Within the Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) in UK, Approved Mental Health Practitioners (AMHPs) and Mental Health Social Workers (MHSWs) from Local Authority Social Services Department (LASSD) work alongside other mental health professionals from health service backgrounds, promoting a multi-disciplinary model of working. However little is known about the impact of this model on these professionals. This research endeavoured to understand mental health social work interventions in multidisciplinary CMHTs in respect of:

1.The practice of general mental health social work
2.The impact of 2007 MHA on social work practice.
3.Mental Health Act assessments (statutory role)
4.Contributions to interdisciplinary mental health teams
5.Barriers and difficulties in integrated working

An ethnographic approach in two CMHTs was employed in drawing upon secondary data, observations and interviews with AMHPs, MHSWs, other mental health professionals and service users, facilitating a rich understanding of the social work role from different perspectives. Bronfenbrenner’s (1977) ‘Ecology of Human Development Theory’ provided the conceptual and theoretical framework for the study, by identifying the different systems social work professionals interact in their practice.
The findings reveal tensions in the microsystem (CMHT) on role definition, losing professional identity, difficulties in care coordination and stigma and status of social work professionals. Tensions in the exosystem include: poor collaboration between LASSD and the Mental Health Trust, fragmented relationships between AMHPs/MHSWs and LASSD, difficulties in working in specialist teams and the medical dominance in CMHTs. Findings on the macrosystem reveal impact of policies and legislation on social work professionals’ roles.

I intend that these results will contribute significantly to the development and profile of MHSWs and AMHPs, as a professional group, and in turn will improve and develop the quality of social work support within mental health services. This subsequently will improve outcomes for service users, carers and communities.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 May 2012 16:00

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