Self-help for common mental health problems: evaluating service provision in an urban primary care setting
Primary Health Care Research and Development
Cambridge University Press. © 2006 Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd
Common mental health problems are highly prevalent in primary care, the UK National Service Framework for mental health demanding that effective and accessible services be made available. Although built upon a strong evidence base, traditional psychological therapies are often limited in terms of their applicability and availability. As a consequence innovative self-help programmes are increasingly being advocated as an alternative means of managing mental health illness within primary care. This study reports the results of a three month evaluation of a self-help service provided by a busy UK urban Primary Care Trust. Levels of utilization, effectiveness and stakeholder acceptability were examined through a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. A total of 662 patients were referred to the self-help clinics over a three month period, 67% of whom attended their first appointment. The mean number of sessions per patient was 2.8 (SD = 2.4), with an average total time of 69.6 min (SD = 48.2). Mean Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (CORE-OM) scores improved significantly between baseline and three month follow-up (P < 0.001), 39% of patients demonstrating a clinically significant improvement. Both selfhelp therapists and referring general practitioners reported moderate to high satisfaction with the self-help treatment model, with the majority of patients perceiving the intervention to be appropriate to their needs. Data demonstrated that, whilst there was a clear need for a simple self-help service to be based in primary care, the ultimate success of this provision necessitates a well developed infrastructure capable of providing sufficient support and information to ensure that it is flexible and responsive to individual needs.
Reproduced with permission of the publisher, Cambridge University Press Copyright © 2006 Arnold
Primary Health Care Research and Development, 2006, 7 (3): pp. 211-220