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
Adopt 12 principles for advancing a culture of engagement:
Make successful engagement a priority at every level of the mental health care system. Train for it. Pay for it. Support it. Measure it.
Communicate hope. For those who feel hopeless, hold hope for them until they experience it themselves.
Share information and decision-making. Support individuals as active participants in their care.
Treat people with respect and dignity. Look beyond the person’s condition to see the whole person.
Use a strengths-based approach to assessment and services. Recognize the strengths and inner resources of individuals and families.
Shape services and supports around life goals and interests. A person’s sense of wellness and connection may be more vital than reducing symptoms.
Take risks and be adaptable to meet individuals where they are.
Provide opportunities for individuals to include family and other close supporters as essential partners in their recovery.
Recognize the role of community, culture, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity, age, language and economic status in recovery.
Provide robust, meaningful peer and family involvement in system design, clinical care and provider education and training.
Add peer support services for individuals and families as an essential element of mental health care.
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:
Strengths-based assessment; and
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:
Training on engagement for health care and mental health professionals.
The experiences of individuals and families receiving mental health services and supports.
Retention and dropout rates for individuals receiving mental health care, with a focus on achieving life and recovery goals.
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