Multidisciplinary Collaboration for Children and Youth with Mental Illness

Zdenek Meier, Kristyna Gabova, Peter Tavel

OBJECTIVES: Within the study, we aimed to present professionals’ experiences with multidisciplinary collaboration for the protection of children’s mental health. THEORETICAL BASE: The multidisciplinary approach in social work is based on the effective collaboration of various professionals. Utilising various collaboration models addresses several approaches to complex social issues and help to form holistic perspectives on clients. Targeted mental health interventions have become more important, and resolvedly, psychiatric care reform professionals have sought to prioritise the integration of social and health services into care routines; social workers thus play a significant role in this context. The multidisciplinary approach has been proven to support the prevention and mitigation of mental health issues in children. METHODS: We used the qualitative applied DIPEx method and conducted 19 interviews with professionals working with children with mental health difficulties. We examined the resulting data using inductive thematic analysis. OUTCOMES: Professionals identified the multidisciplinary approach as higher quality, as it yields more expertise and efficiency in practice, personal support, and opportunities to access to mental health care services. Disadvantages of this approach include the competition and communication among various disciplines as well as other demands, while other systemic barriers include insufficient methodological anchoring and support. Perceptions of multidisciplinary collaboration differed slightly among health, education and social worker response data. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Based on the findings, we suggest bolstering a greater support for the multidisciplinary approach, and more teamwork for social work professionals working with children at risk of developing or exacerbating their mental illness.

children’s mental health, multidisciplinary cooperation, social work and mental health, psychiatric care reform, holistic approach

p. 5-22

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