Authors: Stephanie Mitchell and Matt Ball
Event: 2018 TheMHS Conference
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This presentation will discuss and describe how the Humane Dialogical Project (HDP) evolved. The foundation of HPD stems from the need for lived experience and other alternative responses to be available to a person experiencing distress. The HPD evolved from the ‘Just Listening Project’ concept born in a small community in South Australia where individuals identified a community need in a region where few mental health services are found. ‘Just Listening’ intended to provide a volunteer led, community alternative to emergency mental health services, The ‘Just Listening’ working group specifically centred around the role of two Occupational Therapy Students on placement in the community and the value they have brought to the project as an unlikely, but invaluable resource. Just Listening principles and values are drawn from Open Dialogue, Soteria and Rogarian concepts with community members trained and supported to listen and remain in relationship as peers in the community are supported to move through distress without having to approach mental health emergency services. Due to legal and structural dynamics that surround mental health services, the Just Listening project become unviable in its conceptual form. This however led to the Humane Dialogical Project which draws heavily on the work of the Just Listening development group and places specific value on the extensive and skilful work of the OT students. This presentation will discuss how the project evolved from a community seeing a need, and a system that has been unwilling to move away from the illness model and followed the interest of community members with a passion to be involved in change. The Humane Dialogical Project will provide a crisis response to people in distress and those experiencing extreme states, the project has no funding and will seek to self-fund through offering training. Further to the training placements will be offered to individuals who have attended training in order to embed skills for the work. The likely outcomes are expected to include individuals and networks making sense of their experience, exploring what these networks value as next steps that might not have to include traditional psychiatric interventions and lead to empowerment and increase network understanding of the value of the dialogism and connection.