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What motivates and discourages social workers from working as Approved Mental Health Professionals? Evidence about job resources and demands of the Approved Mental Health Professional role

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Social Work
Early online date30 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Oct 2019

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Abstract

Summary: This paper reports on a systematic thematic synthesis of literature focusing on encouraging and discouraging factors for social workers to train and practise as Approved Mental Health Professionals in England. These professionals have legal authority to authorise the detention for assessment/treatment of people with a ‘mental disorder’ under the Mental Health Act 1983 and other statutory responsibilities. The review included 23 papers, which reported on 14 research studies and is presented using the job demands and resources model. Findings: The review identified a lack of quantitative studies and specific gaps in evidence about social workers’ motivations or reasons why they do not want to become Approved Mental Health Professionals. It identified job resources and demands relating to the intrinsic nature of Approved Mental Health Professional work and extrinsic factors such as fit with social work values and the shortage of inpatient beds. Some job resources and demands overlapped and interacted. Applications: The review suggests that a national survey of Approved Mental Health Professionals might be timely, to examine the relative importance of the job resources and demands; to assess their impact on levels of stress and burnout and on Approved Mental Health Professionals’ motivations to continue or cease working in the role. The findings of the review support the need for increasing the number of inpatient mental health beds and community resources and establishing requirements for the availability of doctors (who may make the medical recommendation to detain) and local agreements about the role of the police and ambulance services in Mental Health Act assessments.

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