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Occupational health in mental health services: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jennifer Oates, Rasiha Hassan

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-44
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Workplace Health Management
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019

King's Authors

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore occupational health (OH) clinicians’ perspectives on employee mental health in the mental health workplace in the English National Health Service. Design/methodology/approach: Thematic analysis of data from seven semi-structured interviews is performed in this paper. Findings: Three themes emerged under the core theme of “Situating OH services”: “the Uniqueness of the mental health service setting”, “the Limitations of OH services” and “the Meaning of mental health at work”. An important finding came from the first theme that management referrals in mental health may be due to disputes about workers’ fitness to face violence and aggression, a common feature of their working environment. Research limitations/implications: This was a small scale study of a previously unresearched population. Practical implications: These findings should be used to refine and standardise OH provision for mental healthcare workers, with a particular focus on exposure to violence and workers’ potential “lived experience” of mental illness as features of the mental health care workplace. Originality/value: This is the first study to explore OH clinicians’ perspectives on the mental health service working environment.

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