Psychosis 101: evaluating a training programme for northern and remote youth mental health service providers
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BACKGROUND: Most of the early psychosis intervention (EPI) training has focused on family physicians participants. In Northern Ontario, there is a shortage of primary care. This paper will present evaluation results of a pilot training programme for rural and remote youth mental health service providers. METHOD: A mixed methods approach was used. We evaluated a 2-day workshop about EPI for non-medical mental health workers delivered onsite and simultaneously by videoconferencing. There were 19 participants across four agencies. Seven were onsite and 12 were offsite. Participants' knowledge was measured using a validated questionnaire at pre-intervention and at 3-, 6- and 9-month follow up. A repeated measures ANOVA was used to evaluate knowledge acquisition between the two modes of training. At 6 months, focus group interviews were conducted to explore their experiences of the mode of intervention delivery and evaluation. Emerging themes were iteratively derived through a series of discussions involving independent coders. RESULTS: Only 15 complete datasets were available of the 19 original participants. Differences in knowledge acquisition between the two groups did not reach statistical difference. Six-month focus group data indicated that participants improved their relationship with EPI services and they were part of a strengthened network with other providers in the region. Post-intervention, the accuracy of referrals from participating agencies increased dramatically, with an increase in proportion of referrals who were eligible for EPI services. The follow-up process engaged participants in learning and re-engaged them with the material taught during the training session. CONCLUSIONS: The results about developing service partnerships and relationship with specialist services are encouraging for policy and service decision-makers to address mental health service needs in northern and remote areas.
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