Client and parent feedback on a Youth Mental Health Service: The importance of family inclusive practice and working with client preferences: Client and Parent Feedback in YMH

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Abstract

In mental health settings, feedback from clients and carers is central to service evaluation, development and delivery. Increasingly, client and carer feedback is considered an integral part of service planning, and recognized as a critical element of the provision of recovery oriented service. This paper outlines the findings of a qualitative evaluation of a Youth Mental Health (YMH) service from the perspective of discharged clients and their parents. The service researcher conducted telephone interviews with 39 parents of discharged clients, and 17 young people themselves. Participants reported positive or mixed experiences with the service. In addition to more generic positive statements about the service, analysis identified two key themes: the importance of ‘family inclusive practice’ and the importance of ‘working with client preferences’. Young people and their parents want to be actively engaged in treatment and have their treatment preferences considered in treatment planning. Participants expressed the importance of “a good fit” between the client and the worker in terms of the clinician's gender, personality and treatment style/modality. While for some participants these themes were raised in the context of service strengths, others identified them as limitations or opportunities for service improvement. The extent to which clients and their parents felt engaged and heard by their allocated clinician is critical to their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the service, depending on their unique experience. As an outcome of this evaluation, a range of service improvement strategies have been recommended.

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