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Working with people who have mental illnesses


If you are working with people who have mental illnesses this is what you need to know:

  • You will need to support them by focusing on their strengths – personality, education, work and leisure
  • Judge them on their successes
  • Use the language of hope
  • Understand that recovery is an individual process
  • Help them to develop connections in the community and natural supports
  • Help with basic needs – Centrelink, finances, food, housing and employment
  • Help facilitate leisure activities and hobbies
  • Know about community services
  • Assist with medical or physical issues
  • Ensure that people have self-defined goals and aspirations
  • Link with peers
  • Be sensitive to diversity – culture, sexuality, ethnicity, lifestyle
  • Be consumer directed – refer to successful role models
  • Avoid the professional knows best attitude and relate to people as equals
  • Ensure person centred planning
  • Understand that medication is only one tool in the tool kit
  • Utilise peer support
  • Use prevention strategies
  • Avoiding discriminatory language and labels
  • Confront your own personal prejudices
  • Support people to advocate for themselves
  • Respect people’s choices

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