Mental Health Social Work and the Troubles in Northern Ireland: A Study of Practitioner Experiences

Jim Campbell, Patrick McCrystal

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    • Summary: During the last decade increasing attention has been paid to the impact of the Troubles1 on social work in Northern Ireland. In this paper, the authors describe the first survey used to test some of the assumptions which exist in the literature. An 87-item questionnaire was applied to a range of social work staff currently working in, or associated with, mental health settings. One hundred and one questionnaires were returned: it is estimated that this represented over 70 per cent of mental health social workers in Northern Ireland. • Findings: The design of the questionnaire elicited both qualitative and quantitative data. The findings reveal a workforce with complex religious and national identities and many of the respondents have experienced relatively high levels of Troubles-related incidents whilst carrying out their duties in a variety of organizational and geographical settings. High proportions of respondents received minimal agency support and training to equip them to deal with Troubles-related problems faced by them during this period. • Applications: The authors conclude that the profession and employing agencies should pay greater attention to past and present effects of the Troubles on social work practice and develop appropriate strategies for supporting, training and resourcing staff in this neglected area.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)173-190
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Social Work
    Volume5 (2)
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


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