Callaghan, J., Young, B., Pace, F. and Vostanis, P.
The objective of the present study was to examine the views of professionals working in youth offending teams (YOTs) on a new model for providing mental health service support within the context of an interagency setting. Focus groups were used and data were analysed according to the constant comparative method. The setting consisted of two YOTs, one in an inner-city area and the other in a rural/semi-urban area, where primary mental health workers operate at the interface between YOTs and the specialist child and adolescent mental health services. Seventeen YOT professionals participated in four focus groups. Four themes were identified: previous experiences of specialist mental health services; issues of interagency working; the role of the primary mental health worker within the YOT; and recommendations for the future. Overall, the clinical component of the role (assessment and intervention), and the accessibility and responsiveness of the mental health staff were consistently valued, while there were mixed responses on role definitions within the team, consultation and training. It is concluded that mental health service provision through primary mental health workers is a useful model for interagency partnerships for high-risk client groups with multiple and complex mental health needs.
child mental health;focus groups;interagency;primary mental health workers;young offenders