Attitudes of mental health professionals towards service user involvement

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Abstract

Patient-centred care and user involvement in healthcare services are much emphasised globally. This study was the first step in a multicentre research project in Finland to improve service users' and carers' opportunities to be more involved in mental health services. The aim of the study was to assess attitudes of professionals towards service user involvement. The data were collected via an online questionnaire from 1069 mental health professionals in four hospital districts. Altogether, 351 professionals responded. Data were analysed using appropriate statistical methods. According to the results, attitudes of healthcare professionals were more positive towards service users' involvement in their own treatment than in other levels of services. There were also differences in gender, age groups, working places and experiences in the attitudes of professionals concerning service users' involvement in their own treatment. These should be taken into account in the future when planning education for mental health professionals. In spite of governmental guidance on service user involvement and the growing body of knowledge of the benefits associated with it, change in attitudes towards user involvement is slow. Special attention should be paid to the attitudes of professionals working in inpatient care and of those with less working experience.

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