Authors: Marianne Wyder, Stuart Polwarth, Amy Barker, Janet Karagounis, Alice Lance, Jasmine Steven
Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference
Subject: recovery, covid
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: LEAD PRESENTATION: Relational Recovery – the needs and experiences of families of people diagnosed with psychosis.
While much needed attention has focused on the unique recovery journeys of individuals, there are increasing concerns that this individualistic perspective of recovery fails to capture the experience of both individuals and families and that a more relational view is needed. Families are interdependent of one another and there is a complex interplay between the various stressors people experience, and their abilities to cope.
There is still limited understanding of recovery needs of families and how these may change over time. The current presentation will present results from a qualitative study undertaken with families of people experiencing their first episode of psychosis. The study aims to increase our understanding of the experience of recovery for families who have a relative who has recently (within the past 2 years) diagnosed with psychosis and to develop a shared understanding of family recovery from the perspective of families The study was conducted by a research academic and a family member with lived experiences of caring for people diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Twenty family members of people that were seen by the early psychosis team in Metro South Addictions and Mental Health Services were interviewed in small groups. The interviews focused on the families experiences and important moments in their carer journey; the feeling and difficulties experienced and things that were helpful and helped them cope. The data was analysed inductively. This presentation will focus on the important touchpoints (moment people keep on referring to) and experiences of families during this time. A greater understanding of the recovery experiences of families would allow a more nuanced response from mental health care services to address their needs.
PANEL PRESENTATION: The Hearing Voices Approach - Voices Vic
Stuart Polwarth, Amy Barker, Janet Karagounis
‘Hearing Voices’ is a term used to represent the experience of what is also called ‘auditory hallucinations’. Medication is usually and traditionally the only form of treatment provided.
Antipsychotics are primarily used to treat schizophrenia and mood disorders and alter brain chemistry. A 2020 study by The University of Western Australia found that antipsychotic drugs are prescribed at an increasing rate by Australian health practitioners. Specifically, researchers found that dispensing rates of antipsychotics increased by 72% between 2006 and 2018. 
While they can be effective in treating a variety of psychiatric conditions, their impact on brain chemistry can also have adverse effects and long-term impacts if the wrong drug or concentration is prescribed. 
Uniting’s Voices Vic award winning and research supported specialist program is different. We are not a clinical service and we do not prescribe medication. We provide safe spaces where voice hearers can: share their experiences; learn new ways to understand, cope and live with voices; explore ways to grow and change the relationship with their voices; and create a sense of hope and possibility. Led by peers with lived experience, Voices Vic offers and delivers training, information sessions and one-on-one sessions (in person and on-line). 
PANEL PRESENTATION: Navigating a complex and sometimes overwhelming world with sketchnotes and infographics: a Covid-19 visual response
Alice Lance, Jasmine Steven
Aim: To demonstrate how using amateur art can assist both consumers and staff to navigate a complex world of information overload.
Information on presentation:
The presentation will cover the experience of managing an evolving COVID-19 situation. An innovative approach was taken to deliver key COVID-19 safety messages to staff while simultaneously informing consumers of the facts of the situation and how best to handle this news.
The service used simple amateur art through sketchnotes and infographics to deliver key messages; the facts to be communicated were determined in consultation with clinical staff and consumer peer workers.
The delivery of messages through sketchnotes and infographics prompted further discussion with consumers to assist and support them in understanding, coping and responding to the situation with resilience.
The use of sketchnotes and infographics is particularly relevant in a world where we are faced with a constant flow of information. The use of a creative approach to deliver adaptive healthcare has many benefits, including appreciating joy in work (for staff); for empowering and facilitating person centred recovery and resilience (for consumers); and cutting through communication challenges created by cultural diversity and language literacy.