Background: Walk-in counselling has been used to reduce wait times but there are few controlled studies to compare outcomes between walk-in and the traditional model of service delivery.
Aims: To compare change in psychological distress by clients receiving services from two models of service delivery, a walk-in counselling model and a traditional counselling model involving a wait list
Method: Mixed methods sequential explanatory design including quantitative comparison of groups with one pre-test and two follow ups, and qualitative analysis of interviews with a subsample. 524 participants 16 years and older were recruited from two Family Counselling Agencies; the General Health Questionnaire assessed change in psychological distress; prior use of other mental health and instrumental services was also reported.
Results: Hierarchical linear modelling revealed clients of the walk-in model improved faster and were less distressed at the 4-week follow-up compared to the traditional service delivery model. At the 10-week follow-up, both groups had improved and were similar. Participants receiving instrumental services prior to baseline improved more slowly. Qualitative interviews confirmed participants valued the accessibility of the walk-in model.
Conclusions: This study improves methodologically on previous studies of walk-in counselling, an approach to service delivery that is not conducive to randomized controlled trials.
Stalker C.A., Riemer, M., Cait, C.A., Horton, S., Booton, J., Josling, L., Bedggood, J. & Zaczek M. (2015). A comparison of walk-in counselling and the wait list model for delivering counselling services. Journal of Mental Health. Published on-line: 15 December 2015. DOI:10.3109/09638237.2015.1101417. This study was funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) FRN 119528.