Depression, Anxiety Disorders Clinical Trial
Impact of a Mental Health Support Program on Stigmatization and Confidence of Medical Residents Working With People With Mental Health Concerns
The program, called the Mental Health Practice Support Program, is designed to teach new tools and skills for working with patients with mental health concerns in a family practice setting. The program is also being evaluated for effectiveness.
Description of the Intervention The Adult Mental Health Practice Support Program (PSP) was designed in 2009 by the General Practice Services Committee (GPSC) (a joint initiative of the BC Medical Association and the BC Ministry of Health) to address needs expressed by the province's family physicians to improve patient care in British Colombia. Its content and delivery model has been designed using evidence-based key ingredients and implication factors understood to be important for effective stigma reduction. These include the following: - the use of contact-based education, a well-established best practice to reduce stigma where patients share their story with a focus on recovery, showing that recovery is not only possible but the goal; - skills-building to increase confidence and provide another management option with or without drugs particularly if access to mental health support services is difficult or absent; - tools - using the principles of cognitive behavioural theory -- than can be flexibly used within constraints of a busy practice reflecting a "real world" scenario; - provider-patient shared responsibility in decision-making, patient engagement in recovery process - practical practice support throughout the training period. The AMHPSP program has been implemented and evaluated with practicing primary care practitioners in numerous jurisdictions with positive results. The program introduces learners to an organized approach to mental health treatment, starting from a problem and strength-based assessment through to the development of an action plan, which, using flow charts, providers can negotiate user-friendly CBT-based self-management options tailored to patient needs. These tools can be delivered within office time constraints, reflecting a "real world" scenario. One of the many tools is the AMHPSP algorithm, which houses all program tools and can be saved on a desktop for easy access at the click of a button (e.g., several validated screening scales for mental illnesses commonly seen in primary care, perinatal screening tools, medication algorithm, useful referral forms etc.) in addition to the three main supported self-management strategies described below: - The Cognitive Behavioral Interpersonal Skills workbook (CBIS) The CBIS manual includes three main assessment tools: 1) the Diagnostic Assessment Interview; 2) the Problem List, Problem List Action Plan, and Resource list; and 3) the SAQ self-assessment questionnaires, all of which engage patient participation. - The BounceBack program led by the Canadian Mental Health Association consists of a telephone delivered provincially funded evidence-based skills program designed to help adults experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood, or stress, with or without anxiety. Mental health coaches will work with patients usually every 1-2 weeks. The service operates at arm's length of HCPs all the while sending providers essential information on diagnosis and care course trajectory. The primary thrust of the program is that all tools are meant to help build a shared responsibility model with the patient by increasing patient-provider interaction, negotiation, and partnership. Patients are encouraged to take an active role in the management of the problems most relevant to them, which in the end engages them in their recovery effort. While previous implementations of the PSP program were delivered in-person, the adapted version for medical residents will be delivered virtually, to accommodate for any additional possible disruptions that may be brought about the ongoing COVID-10 pandemic. Research Question and Objectives The objective of the research is to assess the extent to which the adapted PSP program is effective at increasing residents' confidence and comfort in working with patients with mental health concerns; and decreasing stigmatizing attitudes, including the preference for social distance. Specific research questions are as follows: We hypothesize that enhanced skills in program participants will lead to increased comfort on the part of the medical residents, diminished preference for social distance, and improved attitudes and emotional responses towards patients with mental illnesses. Participants The intervention will be delivered to approximately 30 residents from the University of Dalhousie family medicine residency program for the academic year 2021/2022 . All residents are in the 1st year of their program. The only eligibility criteria are the provision of informed consent and that the participants are in good standing in their program. Methods The research is an intervention study, using a longitudinal pre-post-follow up design. The intervention will be delivered virtually over a total of 4 sessions, covering an 8-week period. Each training session will take place approximately two weeks apart and will be two hours in length. A Practice Support Coordinator will support the "action period" work of the residents in between each of the training sessions. A two hour virtually delivered booster session will be provided to students approximately one year after the delivery of the initial training. The training will be delivered by cohort. The first cohort will receive the PSP training September - November 2022. The second cohort will receive the training November 2021 to February 2022. The third cohort will take the training March to May 2022. Each cohort will include approximately 10 residents. Outcomes of Interest We have identified two primary outcomes, which are as follows: - Reduction in stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors from pre to post intervention, including preference for social distance, attitudes, and emotional responses toward patients with a mental illness. - Improvements in confidence and comfort working with patients with mental health concerns from pre to post intervention. Secondary outcomes are: - Confidence and comfort in the use of tools/strategies. - Impact of the program on emotional responses to interactions with patients with mental illnesses. Our exploratory outcome of interest is an examination of the correlation between changes in stigma and changes in comfort or confidence. [Time Frame: Pre-training, post-training, 6 , 12 and 18 months post -training] Measures Primary Outcome Measure: 1. Opening Minds Scale for Health Providers (OMS-HC) Stigma changes will be measured using the 15 item Opening Minds Scale for Health Providers (OMS-HC), which captures providers' overall mental health related stigma as well as three main dimensions of stigma: negative attitudes, health professionals' own willingness to disclose/seek help for a mental illness, and preference for greater social distance [Time Frame: Pre-training, post-training, 6 , 12 and 18 months post -training] 2. PSP resident study_survey v1F (Confidence Assessment Component) Confidence in managing depression will be assessed using adaptations of measures used in previous evaluations of this program with practicing primary care physicians. Confidence, will be assessed by asking a series of 14 questions where respondents will rate their overall level of confidence regarding the management of mental health conditions. This will be assessed by asking respondents to rate their level of confidence from screening to developing an action plane to treatment which also includes knowledge of community mental health services, using a 7-point Likert scale (not at all, very low, low, moderate, high, very high). [Time Frame: Pre-training, post-training, 6 , 12 and 18 months post -training] Secondary Outcome Measures: Emotion Scale The Emotion scale stigma uses10 item Emotion Scale, assesses perceived emotional responses to interactions with patients with mental illnesses. [Time Frame: Pre-training, post-training, 6 , 12 and 18 months post -training] PSP resident study_survey v1F (Use of and confidence using tools/strategies learned in the program) The PSP residency_survey also measures the reported use of and comfort in the use of tools/skills, which will be assessed through a series of simple yes/no responses pertaining to if the physician uses the tool, and measure levels of familiarity, confidence and comfort with program specific tools and skills taught in the program using a 7-point Likert scale (not at all, very low, low, moderate, high, very high). [Time Frame: Pre-training, post-training, 6 , 12 and 18 months post -training] Correlational analyses using regression techniques will be used to examine the association between improvements in confidence/comfort and reductions in stigma. We will examine changes in mean scores across the different time points, using paired t-tests. A clinically meaningful outcome is considered as an improvement of 10% on the OMS-HC from pre to post training, which is slightly higher than the score change observed in a previous large scale RCT study of the PSP program with practicing physicians in Nova Scotia. Our calculations indicate that a sample of 26 residents will be required. Under this assumption, 80% power would be achieved to detect this difference with an alpha value of 5%. A report on the results of the study will be compiled, with the intention that findings are publishable in the peer reviewed literature. Study findings will also be presented at academic conferences. ;