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Enhancing the Capacity of the Australian Health Care Workforce to Support Veterans' Mental Health: A Collaborative Interdisciplinary Approach

journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-26, 04:29 authored by C Gibbs, B Murphy, K Hoppe, P Clarke, D Ratnaike, H Lovelock
Abstract Introduction Military personnel and veterans can have higher rates of mental health problems than the general population, but are no more likely to receive appropriate mental health care. A lack of experience among Australia’s mental health workforce in treating veteran-specific issues has been identified, pointing to a need for strategies to strengthen the workforce capacity. To this end, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs joined with the Mental Health Professionals Network (MHPN) to produce and deliver a series of veteran-specific webinars for health professionals working with military personnel, veterans and their families. Materials and Method Five webinars were produced and delivered between August 2016 and July 2017. Each involved a panel of health professionals with content expertise and was facilitated by a nationally recognized expert in veteran mental health. Each webinar was evaluated using an online survey to address whether learning needs were achieved, likely improvements to work practice, and improvements in knowledge of and confidence in treating veteran mental health issues. Results Of the 5,127 attendees across the five webinars, registration data was collected for 4,809 (94%) and post-webinar data for 3,334 (70%) of registrants. Of these, over 90% indicated that their learning objectives were achieved, that the content was relevant to their practice, and that their work practices would be improved as a result of their participation. Further, almost three quarters reported increased knowledge and skills, and two-thirds increased confidence in treating veterans’ mental health needs. Conclusions The Veterans’ webinar series was effective in engaging a large number and a wide range of professionals working in mental health care in Australia, underscoring the strength of MHPN’s initiatives in terms of scale and reach. With its emphasis on interdisciplinary practice and collaborative care, MHPN is well-placed to continue to support Australia’s mental health workforce.

History

Journal

Military Medicine: international journal of AMSUS

Volume

185

Pagination

499-505

Location

Oxford, Eng.

ISSN

0026-4075

eISSN

1930-613X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

3-4

Publisher

Oxford University Press