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Complementary Therapy services for mental health service users: Results of a consultation project

Walton, P. and Latham, N. (2005) Complementary Therapy services for mental health service users: Results of a consultation project. Health Education Journal, 64 (4). pp. 347-362. ISSN 0017-8969

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The aim of this paper is to report on the findings of a consultation project exploring demand for mental health related complementary therapy services in the local area. The project and findings are reported with reference to historical context and the literature from service user, healthcare policy and complementary therapy fields. Design The consultation was commissioned by a voluntary sector mental health organisation to establish whether a case could be made for the development of a mental health related complementary therapy service, and what form such a service might take. The researchers sought breadth and balance by seeking views from four standpoints: mental health service users, informal carers, health and social care professionals, and complementary therapy providers.


The consultation activities took place in statutory and voluntary sector settings in Liverpool and surrounding areas. The Merseyside region is an area of long term social disadvantage and environmental neglect, currently subject to extensive regeneration activity with significant UK and EU funding.


Service user views were captured through a combination of focus groups, in mental health centres, and questionnaires, completed at these events or distributed through mental health groups. Health and social care professionals' views were elicited through group meetings, questionnaires or interviews based on the questionnaire structure. Complementary therapy providers completed questionnaires or were interviewed using the questionnaire structure.


The consultations discovered a high level of interest and confidence in holistic forms of therapy amongst service users, carers and professionals, together with interest and expertise in helping with mental health related problems amongst the therapists.


This main contribution to knowledge is in the wealth of detail about potential therapeutic applications and suggested organisational principles for complementary therapy services in the mental health field. The findings are inconclusive on the macro question of service design.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2009 09:55
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2009 09:55
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/001789690506400406
Status: Published
Identification Number: 10.1177/001789690506400406
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6216

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