Indrė Dirgėlienė, Saulius Liekis


A cultural situation of people with mental disorders obliges specialists to collaborate and to share their personal and professional resources in order to change the situation and to avoid the risk of the Soviet heritage. Team work is a vital prerequisite for the better quality of client empowerment, it means a newly forming system and tradition, and therefore, it requires continuous learning and openness of professionals in the situation of changes. The exploration of social workers‘ opportunities in mental health centres is significant for the development and improvement of help to the users of mental health services; moreover, it contributes to the effectiveness of the performance of a multidisciplinary team members.
The aim of the article is to explore the opportunities of social workers‘ activity in a multidisciplinary team of a mental health centre. The methodological basis of the research included the social capital, humanist, and social exchange theories. Quantitative reseach was conducted: 93 social workers employed in Lithuanian mental health centres were surveyed. The data of the research were processed by means of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences), version 16.0, and Spearman‘s correlation coefficient methodology.
The research revealed that a hierarchical system prevalent in interdisciplinary teams reduced the opportunities of social workers‘ activity in the team; the absence of an effective work model in the team prevented its members, including social workers, from precise understanding of the boundaries of their competences and opportunities, an analysis of users‘ needs, the assessment of its outcomes, and building purposeful strategies of professional activities. Social workers experienced clients‘ trust, however, a passive role of client as a member of the team and the level of the multidisciplinary collaboration culture limited the opportunities of client empowerment.

Keyword(s): social worker; mental health; interdisciplinary team
DOI: 10.5200/sm-hs.2013.007
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