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Facilitation as a vital skill in mental health promotion: Findings from a mixed methods evaluation
journal contributionposted on 03.09.2018, 00:00 by Margaret McallisterMargaret Mcallister, Cathie WithymanCathie Withyman, Bruce KnightBruce Knight
© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The implementation of mental health promotion is a core part of the role for all mental health professionals. This involves working with individuals and groups to facilitate the uptake and application of new knowledge, skills and personal attributes. Recently, an Australian intervention that included teaching nurses and educators the skills of mental health promotion was implemented and evaluated. The purpose of this paper is to report the findings of the qualitative evaluation and explore specific attributes of this facilitation, which helps to clarify and articulate a hidden, and taken-for-granted practice. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative mixed-methods study was designed to evaluate the perceived skills and attributes necessary for effective facilitation of a mental health promotion program in schools. Findings: This evaluation revealed that facilitation is more than simply allowing free-flowing discussion amongst participants. For mental health promotion to be effective, the leader needs to be able to balance content delivery with flexibility, to use interpersonal behaviors that support and empower, and be willing to see the self as always learning and growing. Practical implications: Without explicit training or discussion of facilitation, it is possible that mental health professionals may slip into teaching didactically. Didactic teaching may not empower learners to articulate their own views, or internalize and demonstrate new skills. A facilitative approach is more fitting to the values of twenty-first-century health promotion. Facilitation is a skill that deserves to be taught explicitly within all mental health promotion courses, so that mental health professionals are inspired to teach in ways that are transactional, and empowering. Originality/value: A facilitative approach is more fitting to the values of twenty-first-century health promotion. This study confirms that facilitation is a skill that deserves to be taught explicitly to all mental health professionals so they are inspired to implement effec"tive mental health promotion.