Qualitative experiences of disengagement in Assertive Outreach Teams, in particular for ‘black’ men: Clinicians’ perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


Engagement with services is often poor amongst people with severe mental health problems, yet key to improving clinical outcomes.

This study explores the perception of clinicians on patients with severe mental health problems, in particular the experiences of black men, who disengage from mental health services.

Two focus groups consisting of a combined total of twelve, mainly white, experienced clinicians in the UK were recruited. Transcripts were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Clinicians understood that patients’ awareness of stigma impacted upon engagement with mental health services. Clinicians were aware that medication negatively impacted on engagement. The passage of time was perceived as impacting upon engagement.

The perspectives of the clinicians in this study and the experiences of the patients in a former study converged. The participants had an understanding of the complexities that black men faced when engaging with mental health services.

Implications for practice
This is the first study to highlight that AOT staff need to be aware of the key role that stigma plays in engagement in treatment, continue to focus on efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, consider the significance medication and be aware of how patients’ attitudes towards mental health services develop over time.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number2
Early online date12 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017