Authors: Michael Nanai, SA
Event: 2007 TheMHS Conference
Subject: CONSUMER ROLES, ADVOCACY,EMPLOYMENT,PERSONAL STORIES/EXPERIENCES
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: I have been working in mental health for over 3 years, starting as a volunteer then eventually as a paid support worker. I am now a peer specialist with CNAHS, peer support worker with SAHS, and community support worker. My roles with the various services differ in the kind of support that I can offer. It is also conflicting because with one position I can advocate and with others I cannot. In an acute inpatient setting and the community, I can talk about my life experiences, how recovery plays a big part in self-management of my mental illness, consumers’ early warning signs, especially what led them to be in an acute setting. I focus on their strengths and parts of their lives that seem to be in turmoil. I’ve found some issues may be too sensitive or too complex to tackle so I just focus on parts of their lives that they’ve found to be most manageable, most within their control and that they are most at ease with. Throughout the 3 years, I’ve experienced and learned things about myself, the people I have supported and the system in which I work.