Background: Recruitment and retention of psychologists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is difficult worldwide. This study: 1) identified factors that promote or hinder recruitment and retention of CAMHS psychologists; 2) explored training and its impact on CAMHS as a career choice; and 3) identified strategies to improve recruitment and retention of CAMHS psychologists in New Zealand.
Method: Surveys were undertaken with four New Zealand groups: 1) all registered psychologists; 2) final-year professional psychology interns; 3) directors for professional psychology training programmes; and 4) psychology professional leaders in the public health system.
Result: Psychologists with more pre-qualification training in CAMHS were more likely to work in CAMHS. Other psychologists reported they would have more likely worked in CAMHS if they had received more pre-qualification training. Factors that promote or hinder training, recruitment and retention are discussed.
Conclusions: A range of practical strategies for improving recruitment and retention of psychologists to CAMHS were identified, including particular strategies for psychologists from minority cultures (particularly, Maori and Pacific Island psychologists). While undertaken in New Zealand, many of these findings are relevant internationally.