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An examination and evaluation of mental health teaching and learning in “multi-level learner” general practices

M Gaby, E Lyon, S Kilpatrick


Background: This study was designed to identify the appropriateness of the rural multi- level general practice learning environment for mental health education.

Methods: Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 56 practice personnel at five practices in Victoria and South Australia. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and input into N-Vivo qualitative analysis software. Data were analysed against a template derived from open coding merged with basic themes derived from a literature review.

Results: Practice personnel in this study found the multi-level learning environment particularly well suited to mental health teaching but highlighted that learners sometimes had difficulty attaining the most suitable learning level. The study indicated that medical learners need further education about mental health, with exposure to mental health patients and scenarios emphasised as the most valuable ways to learn. An underutilisation of local mental health professionals as teachers was highlighted.

Conclusion: The general practice multi-level learner environment can provide positive outcomes for learning about mental health because it offers diverse opportunities for educators to effectively facilitate group learning. 


multi-level learning; mental health; teaching and learning; general practice; rural

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