Authors: Leigh Murray
Event: 2016 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Families, family, attitudes, stigma, discrimination, communities, lived experience, mental health service reform, trauma-informed care, wellbeing, adhb mental health services auckland new zealand
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: A significant amount of research indicates that promoting biological models of mental illness can adversely impact on people's ability to recover and participate in community life, with associated increases in prejudice, stigma and pessimism about recovery. Family and whānau, in the process of accessing help, often find themselves given a mental illness framework with which to view their loved one. Under this paradigm, it makes sense that whānau want the mental health services to 'fix' their family member and also that they take on a 'carer' role to look after their 'sick' relative. These issues have contributed to the tensions that traditionally exist between consumer groups and family, whānau networks in mental health.
The limitations of this approach are explored by the presenter, reflecting on her own lived experience as a whānau member and an examination of the literature. As part of this she proposes that family and whānau need to be offered a different paradigm where mental distress is acknowledged as a fully human experience and healing relationships are the focus. What whānau might need on this learning journey to sustain authentic recovery focused relationships in the midst of mental distress, is described through the presenter's lived experience.