The Mental Health Beacon was launched in June 2011 by inviting expressions of interest from Victorian adult clinical and community managed mental health services to improve their responsiveness to families. Ultimately, eight services across six different sites were selected to implement one of three evidence-based family interventions – 'Behavioural Family Therapy' (BFT), 'Multiple Family Group' (MFG) and a parenting intervention, 'Let’s Talk' – as part of this two year initiative. At four of the sites, project partners introduced 'Single Session Family Consultation' (SSFC), a brief practice model designed to engage families as a precursor to the BFT and MFG interventions.
Sites were selected on the basis of being best placed to implement the nominated family intervention as well as achieving a balance of representation of community managed/clinical and metropolitan and rural services. The family based approaches adopted at each site are listed below.
SSFC & MFG
SSFC & BFT
There was a high level of participation by partner services in project activities indicating a productive working relationship between these services and The Bouverie Centre. Nineteen practice champions were engaged from participating sites. They received training in the chosen practice models, namely SSFW (n=13) or 'Let's Talk' (n=6), and were given a brief introduction to implementation theory. Over the course of the project though, a further 147 mental health practitioners participated in SSFC or 'Let's Talk' training. Sixteen practitioners went on to receive training in the specialist modalities of BFT and MFG. A total of 60 supervision sessions and 52 implementation meetings were conducted to support the implementation activities conducted across the six sites.
Between October 2011 and September 2012, 160 SSFC sessions were conducted with families across the four sites introducing this intervention. Interestingly at two sites where invitations to participate in SSFC were recorded, the rate of uptake by families relative to invitations was 52% and 32%. These figures are encouraging when compared to the rate of uptake by families in a similar US study. 'Let’s Talk' was provided to 19 families across the two sites that introduced this intervention. The rate of uptake of 'Let’s Talk' needs to be viewed in the context of a number of factors including the size of the eligible target group (~20% of the adult client population are parents), the sensitivity of the issue for clients and the fact that this intervention was accompanied by significant additional requirements related to research.
Following training two MFG’s have commenced and BFT sessions have been conducted across the four sites involved in these interventions.
The impact of 'Let’s Talk' on parents receiving the intervention was researched and the data generated is currently being analysed. Research conducted as part of Mental Health Beacon played an important in a successful submission for large scale funding to conduct further research in relation to the Mental Illness Research Fund (MIRF).
De-identified data about families’ experience of SSFC is being collated and should offer much needed information about families’ experience of this intervention.
Research has also been conducted in relation to practitioners’ experience of using the SSFC model both by The Bouverie Centre and in two small scale qualitative studies conducted by a social work and a psychology student as part of their Masters course. The findings of the studies were presented at TheMHS in August 2013.
The Bouverie Centre is now taking applications for its 2018 coursework programs - the Graduate Certificate in Family Therapy and Master of Clinical Family Therapy (yrs 2 & 3 entry).find out more