Authors: Matthew Cheyne
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Healthy Communities Help Consumers Help Themselves Heal and Recover Faster and For Longer
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Matthew Cheyne is a mature aged student based in Petersham in the Inner West of Sydney. His interests include being a consumer advocate on a LEAP committee which represents the interests of mental health consumers. His wish is to use his knowledge to become a peer-worker in the future.
Healthy communities in 2019 come in as many shapes and sizes as there are people who comprise them. Healthy communities tend to base themselves around shared values, for instance, here in Sydney, I belong to a Buddhist community and we have the shared values of wanting to pursue a healthy lifestyle using the teachings of the Buddha as our template. Healthy communities such as the Buddhist community I belong to can be created along spiritual lines or ideas or hobbies of which they find happiness and meaning. It is not so much the creation of these healthy communities being created but their maintenance and promotion of a feeling of belonging, something that many people in an acute health setting lack. The right mix of support and treatment differs per person. Early on in an acute setting, NGOs, public and private mental health services, healthy communities, need to do the heavy lifting of support until the person recovering is able to feel comfortable exercising their own agency, making positive choices that promote recovery. Personal stories of hope and resilience from consumers and carers help promote such personal agency by challenging the doubts that are in the minds of consumers.
Learning Objective 1: Belonging to a spiritual community can greatly enhance mental health and wellbeing in and acute mental health setting and also one a mental health consumer is out of hospital and back out in the community by giving them a sense of belonging and meaning.
Learning Objective 2: Meditation and other relaxation techniques are highly effective but more so when a mental health consumer is part of a spiritual community where people visit them in an acute setting and can mentor them and help them in a practical sense as well.