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Title: An exploration of social work practice in Northern Ireland, with families where mothers have enduring mental health difficulties
Author: Monds-Watson, Aisling
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 1694
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2011
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Background: This abstract relates to a 4 stage doctoral research project exploring interventions by Family Intervention and Community Mental Health Social Workers with families where mothers- experience enduring Mental Health Difficulties. The study provided quantitative and qualitative data from both practitioner and client perspectives regarding the number of Northern Ireland families affected by maternal enduring mental health difficulties, the relationship between maternal mental health difficulties, child welfare and family functioning, the experience of service delivery and the character and effectiveness of Social Work practice with these families. Methodology: Stage 1: The findings from an extensive review of relevant contemporary research and preliminary field work with Social Workers, voluntary-agencies and mothers experiencing enduring mental health difficulties (including consultation via an online website), were utilised to devise a research methodology which addressed key areas of inquiry. Stage 2: A saturation-survey was distributed to all Family Intervention (n= 250) and Community Mental Health (n=139) Social Workers across Northern Ireland. Stage 3: Qualitative and quantitative analysis of data was undertaken and the outcomes disseminated to I The rationale for excluding fathers from the study is addressed in section 1.6.1. Results: The saturation survey of Family Intervention and Community Mental Health Social Workers provided data relating to between 46 (Family Intervention) and 56 (Community Mental Health) variables. The Social Work population indicated a response size calculation- of n=70 for Family Intervention, and n=57 for Community Mental Health at a 95% confidence level, the survey achieved a response rate of n=74 for Family Intervention and n=56 for Community Mental Health. Analysis indicates that 23.7% of composite Community Mental Health case loads and 33.6% of composite Family Intervention caseloads feature enduring maternal mental health difficulties. Themes emerging from interviews with mothers corresponded to issues raised by Social Workers and indicated a need for collaborative, consistent Social Work practice informed by mandatory training in parental mental health difficulties, and where possible, co- ordinated from within the Community Mental Health programme of care. Conclusion: The study provides a comprehensive range of qualitative and quantitative data, including but not limited to: rates of enduring maternal mental health difficulties, parental mental health difficulties, lone-parent status, legislative procedures, perceived impact of enduring maternal mental health difficulties on child/children, rates of dual-diagnosis, perception of interagency-collaboration, level and type of Social Work intervention, and levels of training and professional experience amongst Family Intervention & Community Mental Health Social Workers. Given the high rates of enduring maternal mental health difficulties and parental mental health difficulties within Community Mental Health and Family Intervention caseloads, these outcomes have significant implications regarding the policy, planning, and provision of services to these families.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available