Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Ken Robinson

Abstract

c:nrrenttly, mental health reform in Australia is moving towards a broader and more collaborative system of mental health care, with focus on primary mental health care. The purpose of this literature review was to discuss the management of patients with mental health disorders, in terms of treatment and referral decision-making among GPs in primary care. This literature review indicated the importance of clinical psychologists liaising with GPs to build a good working relationship, support GPs, and provide GPs with the opportunity for referral of patients to their services when needed. To date, research in the area of management of patients with mental health disorders in primary care from Australia were mostly conducted using a quantitative methodology. A few qualitative studies have been conducted in the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The review concluded that more information on the process of referral would be obtained by a concentration upon qualitative studies. Australian mental health policy focuses on empowering GPs to manage patients with mental health disorder. This qualitative study recruited eight senior medical students who intend to be GPs, and identified factors that influence their management processes and decisions when managing mental health patients. Using Knight's (2003) categorical approach, content analysis showed the separate factors that influenced future GPs' management decisions. In addition, exploratory thematic coding derived from grounded theory (Sigel & Leiper, 2004) appeared to explain individual differences in the management process between future GPs. In conclusion, researchers might consider combining the interview approach used by Knight with Sigel and Leiper's analytic framework, to potentially gain greater understanding of the decision-making process associated with the management of patients with mental health disorders. Further understanding of the decision-making process may provide an evidence-based tool for training future GPs and for on-going professional development for practice GPs.

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