Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 380–388 | Cite as

Complex Caring Trajectories in Community Mental Health: Contingencies, Divisions of Labor and Care Coordination

Original Paper


The concept of ‘trajectory’ refers to the unfolding of individual service users’ health and illness experiences, the organization of health and social care work surrounding them and the impact this work has on people involved. Using qualitative data from a study completed in two sites in Wales we first reveal the complex character of trajectories encountered in the community mental health field. We show how these can be shaped by features peculiar to mental ill-health per se, and by features with organizational origins. We then use our data to lay bare true divisions of labor. Mental health professionals featured prominently in our study. We also reveal relatively invisible contributions made by professionals on the periphery, support workers, unpaid lay carers and service users. In examining the significance of our findings we identify particular lessons for mental health practitioners, managers and policymakers sharing concerns for the coordination of care.


Care coordination Mental health systems Roles Trajectories UK Work 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiff School of Nursing and Midwifery StudiesCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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