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'A fine line': Mental health support workers strive to define their role


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Mental health support workers are the second largest group of health care workers in New Zealand, after nurses, however their role is not clearly defined. This week, Hamish Holewa speaks with researcher, Barnaby Pace, who says the fact that support workers are moving towards becoming a registered body in New Zealand under the Health Practice Nurse Competency Insurance Act, means they need to become very clear about their role and function. His research shows that mental health service users see their support workers as providing an important advocacy function, while mental health professionals do not identify advocacy as part of the role. He has also found mixed views from health professionals over whether or not support workers need education and training in order to understand treatment plans, medication and diagnoses. Barnaby Pace warns that because they are unclear about their role, support workers are taking on more of a caregiver role. He says this goes against the 'strength' model, which recommends 'doing alongside' rather than 'doing for' mental health service users, so that their own skills are built upon, and they will be better prepared to function in an integrated community.

Item Type: Audio
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental health services; support workers
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Corporate > Business and Development
Depositing User: Barnaby Pace
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2010 23:36
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 02:27

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