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Experience, knowledge and attitudes of mental health staff regarding patientsí problematic drug and alcohol use


Siegfried, N and Ferguson, J and Cleary, M and Walter, G and Rey, JM, Experience, knowledge and attitudes of mental health staff regarding patients' problematic drug and alcohol use, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 33, (2) pp. 267-273. ISSN 0004-8674 (1999) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 1999 SAGE Publications

DOI: doi:10.1046/j.1440-1614.1999.00547.x


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the experience, knowledge and attitudes of mental health staff regarding patientsí problematic drug and alcohol use in order to provide direction for planned drug and alcohol education.

Method: A 47-item questionnaire was developed and individually posted to all mental health staff employed by Central Sydney Area Health Service (n = 5 3 6 ).

Results: Three hundred and thirty-eight (63%) staff members completed the questionnaire. Thirty-six percent of respondents had received drug and alcohol training and 41% had drug and alcohol work experience. Drug and alcohol training and work experience were associated with increased drug and alcohol knowledge.

Respondentsí perception of their knowledge and competence was positively correlated with their actual knowledge. Most staff reported having regular contact with patients with psychotic illnesses and drug and alcohol problems. The majority considered the management of this patient group difficult and currently inadequate. Seventy percent believed that as mental health professionals they had a role to play in the management of their patientsí drug and alcohol problems. Almost all (95%) were willing to participate in further education and training in this area.

Conclusions: Mental health staff are often confronted with drug and alcohol problems in patients with psychotic illnesses. They perceive a need for drug and alcohol education and training specific to the management of these patients. Future research will need to evaluate outcomes of education and training programs for both staff and patients.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:substance misuse, mental health
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:108471
Year Published:1999
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2016-04-19
Last Modified:2016-08-04

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