Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A Career in Mental Health?

Care and support are not the only models or frameworks for mental health recovery. The establishing or re-establishing of what Dr. Pat Deegan refers to as 'valued social roles' can be held back by a mental health system that often encourages the client to choose 'a career in mental health' (Pat Deegan).

A career in mental health means living longterm on benefits and longterm marginalisation from mainstream life. A career in mental health will identify symptoms, diagnoses, medication and team support but will often leave out aspirations, goals, priorities.

Where access to mainstream is encouraged, it can often be through projects or programmes which take place in special settings or are designed for people with mental health conditions. So the marginalisation continues.

A genuine return to mainstream can only take place in mainstream. This is where the role of the life coach or bridge builder comes in. A client who has worked with a mainstream bridge builder identifies goals and priorities for him or herself. It is the bridge builder's job to signpost or link the client up with mainstream venues appropriate to the client's life choices. The amount of support a client may request from there on is determined only by the client not by the life coach.

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