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What constitutes a good outcome in mental health? 

In July we hosted a conference around what constitutes a good outcome in child and adolescent mental health, bringing together speakers from a variety of backgrounds. 

You can watch the panel discussion that took place at the conference.   

New article published 

A qualitative investigation of staff's practical, personal and philosophical barriers to the implementation of a web‐based platform in a child mental health setting by Rosa Town, Nick Midgley, Louise Ellis, Rebecca Tempest and Miranda Wolpert was published in Counselling and Psychotherapy Research on 4 July.

Q&A with lead author, Rosa Town

What did this research aim to find out?

The research aimed to help us to understand the factors that discouraged staff from using an interactive, web-based platform called CAMHSweb (now called ‘IncludeMe’) with young people in a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS).

CAMHSweb aimed to increase shared decision making (SDM) and collaborative practice in child and adolescent mental healthcare. Although the use of evidence-based technology is becoming more widespread, the barriers to staff using web-based platforms in child mental health services have not been explored in previous research.

How did you investigate this?

We carried out semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions which were used to prompt discussion, and we then explored participants’ responses further in follow-up questions. We interviewed six employees in a child mental health service where the platform was not being successfully used in clinical work. We then analysed the interviews using thematic analysis, which looks at the themes in the data.

What did you find?

There were three themes which covered the practical, personal and philosophical barriers to staff using CAMHSweb. The first theme, a practical barrier, was that it is too challenging to implement new technology in the service. Interviewees described their frustration with using new technology and their lack of “headspace” due to a service restructuring. The second theme, a personal barrier, was that the platform is not an asset to therapists. Clinicians did not believe the portal would be personally useful to them, either because it was unappealing-looking or an unnecessary addition to practice as usual. The third theme, a philosophical barrier, was that the platform interferes with the therapeutic process. Here clinicians described how they believed the portal had the potential to damage the therapeutic relationship or hinder collaboration in therapy.

What does this mean?

Identifying these barriers may be useful in the future design, development and implementation of web-based platforms in child mental health services. However, given the small sample size of the study, further research into the use of web-based platforms in other CAMH services would be necessary to see if these or other barriers are present elsewhere.