James, Liz and Wintrup, Julie
A study of the training and development needs of Support Time Recovery & Health Care Support Workers.
At Mental Health Research in the South West Research Day 2009, Bristol, UK,
24 Feb 2009.
The purpose of this study is to explore the development needs of Support Time Recovery (STR) and health / social care Support Workers (SW), given the growing importance of their work across the spectrum of direct mental health care and treatment. Remarkably little is known about this significant proportion of the workforce, although the absence of a recognised framework of training for STRs was commented upon by Huxley (2006). A research team including education leads from two NHS Trusts and a ‘reference group’ (volunteers working in a variety of support roles) is engaged in a case study with two phases. The first phase, identifying and mapping gaps, barriers and untapped opportunities, is complete and findings will be presented. The second phase is beginning and involves individual meetings with volunteer STRs and SWs to discover not only their formal learning, but the nature of development and support they would wish to access. Discussions with reference group members to date highlight immense motivation and interest in both broadening and deepening skill and knowledge. We suggest that this is a group with potential for improving the service user experience immediately and directly, but that the active support of employers and professional colleagues is essential.
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