JOURNAL ARTICLE

Self-reported confidence and skills of general practitioners in management of mental health disorders

Mark Oakley Browne, Adeline Lee, Radha Prabhu
Australian Journal of Rural Health 2007, 15 (5): 321-6
17760916

OBJECTIVE: To identify the predictors of self-reported confidence and skills of GPs in management of patients with mental health problems.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey, with questionnaire presented to 246 GPs working in 62 practices throughout Gippsland.

SETTING: Rural general practices in Gippsland.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred and thirty-four GPs across Gippsland.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: GPs completed a questionnaire assessing self-perception of knowledge and skills in recognition and management of common mental health problems.

RESULTS: Of 134 GPs, 45% reported that they have a specific interest in mental health, and 39% of GPs reported that they had previous mental health training. Only 22% of GPs describe having both an interest and prior training in mental health care. Age and years since graduation are not significantly related to self-reported confidence and skills.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study highlight that self-professed interest and prior training in mental health are associated. Self-professed interest in mental health care predicts confidence and self-perceived skills in recognition, assessment and management of common mental health disorders. Similarly, prior training in mental health care predicts confidence and self-perceived skills in recognition, assessment and management of common mental health problems. Self-professed interest in mental health issues is also associated with hours of participation in continuing medical education related to mental health care. Unfortunately, only a minority described having both interest and prior training in mental health care.

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