Ekers, David M., Lovell, Karina and Playle, John (2006) The use of CBT based, brief, facilitated self-help interventions in primary care mental health service provision: Evaluation of a 10-day training programme. Clinical Effectiveness in Nursing, 9. e88-e96. ISSN 1361-9004

There is clear evidence for the effectiveness of specific interventions for common mental health problems in primary care. A major challenge is the inflexibility of traditional approaches to respond to the sheer volume of need. Evidence for brief cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based guided self-help interventions is emergent and may offer a way forward in responding to the issues of volume and accessibility. We present, an evaluation of a training course designed to equip non CBT trained workers to deliver such interventions.

Seventeen primary care mental health workers participated in a 10-day training course focussed on CBT based facilitated self-help approaches. Evaluation focussed on knowledge of CBT; acceptability/usefulness of the training; self perceived incorporation into participants’ clinical practice and perceived barriers to the use of the knowledge and skills acquired. Measures were administered pre and post training and 6 months later.

Positive changes were recorded in knowledge, self rating of use of CBT techniques, usefulness of training which largly maintained 6 months after the course concluded. Perceived barriers to implementation of the intervention were noted particularly in the institutional domain and remained up to 6 months post the course.

In this group of staff the training outlined was able to produce desired changes that were maintained. The degree to which these changes were responsible for improved access or effectiveness is beyond the scope of this paper. Further research is recommended in relation to the optimum level of training required to deliver effective brief interventions as part of a stepped system of mental health care.