The Need for Visits to Social and Vocational Programs for the Mentally Ill as Part of General Psychiatry Residency Training
Keywords:community psychiatry, internship and residency, mentally ill persons, community-institutional relations
Background. Comprehensive treatment planning for psychiatric illnesses should be based on a biopsychosocial model of treatment to address the acuity and chronicity of these disorders. To achieve this goal, knowledge about pharmacological, psychological, and social aspects of the treatment plan should be presented as an integral part of general psychiatry residency training. This survey study was conducted to examine how many programs provide training where residents have scheduled visits to social and vocational mental health service organizations in the community and to identify potential obstacles to including this rotation in general psychiatry residency training. Methods. A voluntary, anonymous survey was sent via SurveyMonkey® to the program directors of all general psychiatry residency programs in the United States. The survey consisted of five questions designed to assess if their programs had a rotation where residents visit social and vocational programs in the community designed for mentally ill patients to provide knowledge of the community mental health resources to their residents. Results. Of the 168 survey invitations issued, 73 (44%) responded. Fifty-six responders acknowledged that their residents were required to visit a community mental health organization, but their programs did not offer visits to community social and vocational programs. Seventeen program directors reported that their program did not provide this experience to their residents and indicated a desire to include such a rotation. Conclusions. Community mental health service organization visits should enhance knowledge of psychiatry residents about community mental health resources and indirectly promote better patient care. Information obtained from this survey should create discussion to work toward better psychiatric resident training.
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