Attitudes, job satisfaction and quality of care : the experiences of mental health support workers

Melody Terras, Judith Ramsay, Jade Dollochin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Objectives: Mental health support workers enable independent living. Existing research documents attitudes and factors that contribute to burnout in the nursing population. However, less is known about the experiences of mental health support workers who spend a large amount of time supporting individuals with longstanding mental health problems and therefore encounter a different range of experiences. How do they cope with these different experiences? Does experience influence attitudes towards their clients, job, and ultimately the quality of care provided?
Design: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 15 mental health support workers to explore their attitudes and day-to-day experiences.
Methods: All interviews were audio record, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a framework approach that supports examination of a priori questions and the identification of emergent themes
Results: Five themes were identified: (1) Positive influence of experience on attitudes; (2) Stigmatisation experienced by people with mental health problems; (3) Advantages and disadvantages of community care, (4) Experiences of burnout; 5) Gender differences and job satisfaction with male support workers reporting less negative effects.
Conclusion: Attitudes were positive towards individuals with mental illnesses in general, but individuals with schizophrenia were frequently stigmatised. Familiarity and experience helped improve attitudes. All staff reported frequent experiences of occupational stress that left them feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. The nature of mental health support workers attitudes should be addressed. Appropriate training is essential to ensure that support workers retain positive attitudes towards their clients to reduce the potential influence of stigma on the quality of care provided.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2015
EventBritish Psychological Society Annual Conference 2015 - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 May 20157 May 2015


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Annual Conference 2015
Abbreviated titleBPS 15
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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