Given the prevalence of mental health problems globally, there is an increasing need for the police and other non-mental health trained professionals to identify and manage situations involving individuals with mental health problems. The review aimed to identify and explore qualitative evidence on views and experiences of non-mental health professionals receiving mental health training and the barriers and facilitators to training delivery and implementation.

A meta-synthesis of qualitative evidence on the barriers, facilitators and perceived impact of mental health training programmes for non-mental health trained professionals. Systematic literature searches were undertaken of the following databases: Criminal Justice Abstracts (CJA); MEDLINE; Embase; PsycINFO; ASSIA; CENTRAL; SSCI; ERIC; Campbell Library; Social Care Online and EPOC from 1995 to 2016. Records were independently screened for eligibility by two researchers, data extraction and quality appraisal of studies was also undertaken independently by two researchers. The CASP tool was used to quality appraise included studies. Included studies were synthesised using a meta-ethnographic approach as outlined by Noblit and Hare.

10,282 records were identified and eight qualitative studies were included. A range of barriers and facilitators to training were identified and related to the delivery and content of training; the use of additional resources; and staff willingness to engage with training and organisational factors. The perceived impact of training was also discussed in terms of how it affects trainees; perceptions of mental health; self-perception; responses to situations involving mental health and the potential of training to reduce injury or physical harm in situations involving mental health. The value of training and how to measure its impact were also discussed.

Findings from this review have implications for those designing, implementing and evaluating mental health training programmes. It is recommended that research evaluating mental health training includes a qualitative component to ensure that the barriers and facilitators to training and its impact on trainees’ perceptions of mental health are understood.

Arabella Scantlebury , Adwoa Parker, Alison Booth, Catriona McDaid, Natasha Mitchell
PLOS One, June 25, 2018