Engagement: A New Standard for Mental Health Care

Last Updated: 6 Aug 2018
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A fundamental shift in the culture of mental health care delivery is critical. Now is the time to act. NAMI calls on providers, payers and health systems to take the following steps to promote a culture of engagement

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Adopt 12 principles for advancing a culture of engagement:

  1. Make successful engagement a priority at every level of the mental health care system. Train for it. Pay for it. Support it. Measure it.
  2. Communicate hope. For those who feel hopeless, hold hope for them until they experience it themselves.
  3. Share information and decision-making. Support individuals as active participants in their care.
  4. Treat people with respect and dignity. Look beyond the person’s condition to see the whole person.
  5. Use a strengths-based approach to assessment and services. Recognize the strengths and inner resources of individuals and families.
  6. Shape services and supports around life goals and interests. A person’s sense of wellness and connection may be more vital than reducing symptoms.
  7. Take risks and be adaptable to meet individuals where they are.
  8. Provide opportunities for individuals to include family and other close supporters as essential partners in their recovery.
  9. Recognize the role of community, culture, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, language and economic status in recovery.
  10. Provide robust, meaningful peer and family involvement in system design, clinical care and provider education and training.
  11. Add peer support services for individuals and families as an essential element of mental health care.
  12. Promote collaboration among a wide range of systems and providers, including primary care, emergency services, law enforcement, housing providers and others.

 

Require training for mental health professionals on the lived experience of mental illness, focusing on the following areas of engagement:

  1. Motivational interviewing;
  2. Shared decision-making;
  3. Strengths-based assessment; and
  4. Including natural supports (e.g., supportive family and friends).

Training should be culturally sensitive and competent to effectively meet the needs of individuals and families in diverse communities.

 

Invest in research on effective engagement with a focus in the following areas:

  1. Training on engagement for health care and mental health professionals.
  2. The experiences of individuals and families receiving mental health services and supports.
  3. Retention and dropout rates for individuals receiving mental health care, with a focus on achieving life and recovery goals.

 

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness

 

2 Comments
  1. I’m a little confused by the term engagement. I originally thought you meant ‘get the client engaged, provide opportunities for THEM to engage’ but now I’m confused. It looks like you might have meant ‘engagement’ at the provider level or in areas that previously have not been explored, as in the relatively recent Peer Mentor and Consumer-Run ‘Drop In’ centers.

    I got really lucky. First manic episode got me hospitalized. I was allergic to Lithium, so we sort of wasted the first month. This was back when insurance companies paid for longer stays. I don’t why this changed. Then I was put in an antiseizure med and an antidepressant and I left the hospital a new woman, embarking on a decade of stability that I took for granted. In later years, I’ve had med fatigue, so I require med changes and adjustments and suffer (I hate that word) lengthy bipolar depressions. Because of my first experience, I know if I’m patient and strong; fostering hope in any way I can, things will come around. Thanks for the article. A lot of people don’t want to be responsible for their mood disorder and getting their meds. I’m not sure why this is.

  2. It took me many years to become fully engaged and remain engaged. I was incorrectly diagnosed with depression and later with dysthymia. I would start to get better and quit going to therapy and quit any meds I was on. I didn’t terminate properly with my therapists, I just stopped going.

    It wasn’t until I was properly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder that I realized I wasn’t really getting better when I came out of a depression. My current therapist agreed to change the frequency of our meeting depending on how I was doing as long as I remained engaged. I have now been seeing her for nearly three years.

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