A cluster RCT to improve workplace mental health in a policing context: findings of a mixed-methods implementation evaluation

Publication type
Journal article
Authors
LaMontagne AD, Martin AJ, Page KM, Papas A, Reavley NJ, Noblet AJ, Milner AJ, Keegel T, Allisey A, Witt K, Smith PM
Date published
2020 Dec 01
Journal
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Pages
[epub ahead of print]
Open Access?
No
Abstract

BACKGROUND: We conducted a cluster randomized trial of a workplace mental health intervention in an Australian police department. The intervention was co-designed and co-implemented with the police department. Intervention elements included tailored mental health literacy training for all members of participating police stations, and a leadership development and coaching program for station leaders. This study presents the results of a mixed-methods implementation evaluation of the trial. METHODS: Descriptive quantitative analyses characterized the extent of participation in intervention activities, complemented by a qualitative descriptive analysis of transcripts of 60 semistructured interviews with 53 persons and research team field notes. RESULTS: Participation rates in the multicomponent leadership development activities were highly variable, ranging from <10% to approximately 60% across stations. Approximately 50% of leaders and <50% of troops completed the mental health literacy training component of the intervention. Barriers to implementation included rostering challenges, high staff turnover and changes, competing work commitments, staff shortages, limited internal personnel resources to deliver the mental health literacy training, organizational cynicism, confidentiality concerns, and limited communication about the intervention by station command or station champions. Facilitators of participation were also identified, including perceived need for and benefits of the intervention, engagement at various levels, the research team's ability to create buy-in and manage stakeholder relationships, and the use of external, credible leadership development coaches. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation fell far short of expectations. The identified barriers and facilitators should be considered in the design and implementation of similar workplace mental health interventions