S60: “What should I say?”: Evidence-based disclosure recommendations for mental health workers.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Katie Normile, Joe Muro, Lorrae Mynard, David Khlentzos

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Workforce,Policy, Strategy,Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Change, Innovation, Reform

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: Introduction: Occupational therapists at a high-secure hospital observed that their mental health consumers face ‘dual-disclosure’ and/or ‘forced disclosure’ challenges in acknowledging both their mental health and forensic histories within their community, potentially limiting opportunities for meaningful participation and their chance of successful community reintegration.

Aim: To review relevant literature, legislation and resources, in order to develop best practice recommendations for mental health workers.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted and data collected from 33 studies were critiqued and collated into best practice recommendations in line with relevant legislation, professional codes of conduct and organisational policies.

Results: 13 highly relevant articles emerged from the search. 30 best practice recommendations were developed. Most data found focused solely on employment contexts, investigating stigma and discrimination experienced by consumers.

Conclusions: The evidence overall suggested benefits to individualized, strengths-based approaches and the use of disclosure tools. Mental health workers and consumers should select preferred strategies and make a plan around disclosing ‘sensitive’ information early in their recovery journey. These recommendations have been incorporated into the policies and guidelines of one facility. It is anticipated these recommendations will provide direction structure for clinicians and consumers considering disclosure or considering the management of personal information.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: An understanding of the different types of disclosure strategies and the pros and cons of disclosing personal information in the workforce or community setting. Mental health workers will gain knowledge of how to incorporate evidence-based recommendations into current practices and organisational policies. Examples will be given of how to incorporate disclosure strategies in community settings such as educational institutions, employment, and other various social networks.

Learning Objective 2: Often times consumers are forced to disclose personal information which may hinder their opportunities to engage within the community. Mental health workers have a role in supporting consumers to consciously consider strategies which can provide a better outcome for a consumer when they are needing to explain their mental health and/or forensic histories to mainstream services.

Hielscher, E., & Waghorn, G. (2015). Managing disclosure of personal information: An opportunity to enhance supported employment. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 38(4), 306-313.
Waghorn, G., & Spowart, C. E. (2010). Managing personal information in supported employment for people with mental illness. Vocational Rehabilitation and Mental Health, 201-210.

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