Mental health in vietnam and the move to incorporate social work: A mixed methods study of staff perceptions and expectations

Huong Nguyen, Melissa Hardesty, Trang Nguyen, Chengshi Shiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 2010, Vietnam established social work as a profession. As part of their strategic plan, the government aims to incorporate social work into existing hospitals and health care facilities in the country, including psychiatric hospitals and mental health care centers. This paper, based upon survey and focus group data from 194 people working in three major mental health facilities in Hanoi, explores direct care staffs’ perceptions of this historic incorporation of social work, with a particular eye to the benefits and challenges of the transition. Results show most staff members thought social workers would provide great support to the many unmet needs of their largely underserved and impoverished patients. They also viewed social workers as a potential resource to the treatment team by reducing work overload. Existing staff, however, were less attuned to the clinical functions of social workers in mental health settings, often equating social work with community development and social movements. Some were concerned about social workers taking on their tasks; others about new social workers being hindered by the professional hierarchy in which doctors were placed at the top. Successful integration of social workers will hinge on strong support from policy-makers and leaders of mental health systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-47
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Work in Mental Health
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of South Carolina Provost?s Office.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the University of South Carolina Provost’s Office.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis.

Keywords

  • mental health
  • social work
  • Vietnam

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