‘Dental As Anything’ : Dental Outreach To People With A Mental Illness

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Authors: Andrew Neil & Robert Lewis, VIC

Year: 2004

Event: 2004 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Physical Health

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 0975765302

Abstract: This paper will demonstrate how a community health service has responded in a unique and innovative way to the complex needs of people with a mental illness. People with a psychiatric disability are in a high-risk group with respect to dental disease, due to mental illness and the side-effects of psychotropic medication. Problems in regard to oral health impact negatively on; nutrition, speech, appearance, self-esteem, social interactions and life opportunities. The ‘Dental as Anything’ Program is a collaborative initiative, locally conceived and developed between the Dental and Mental Health Programs of The Inner South Community Health Service. It is based upon expertise and partnership, and utilizes a community development framework. Services are delivered through an assertive outreach model. This paper will show how Mental Health Outreach Workers and a Dental team collaboratively provide accessible and active dental outreach and follow up clinical treatment. This is achieved through weekly dental screenings in settings such as; parks, rooming houses, drop-in centres and other community locations.

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