Authors: Natalie Alfonso
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Collaboration not Competition
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Natalie is a Social Worker with lived experience of complex mental illness. She is also in the process of studying Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Her experience has extended across community development, community mental health services and currently as a support coordinator within the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Mental health treatment is not a competition. The purpose of this paper is to address stigma, isolation and disjointed practice in mental health by challenging individual practitioners and organisations to critically evaluate the following four questions: What is particular to their role/business? What is their relationship with other professionals/organisations? What could they be doing better or differently to collaborate rather than compete? Finally, what broader vision of healthy and resilient communities do they see themselves trying to achieve? Two case studies will elaborate these questions and provide context for reflection. The first case study is a personal reflection on the treatment process for complex mental illness. The second case study focuses on the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and discusses the benefits and pitfalls of a competitive business environment for building healthy communities. This paper contends that individuals and organisations must collaborate and dismantle hierarchical approaches to professional collaborations in order to achieve healthy and resilient communities.
Learning Objectives Learning Objective 1: This presentation will stimulate critical self-reflection on professional and organisational roles in the mental health field. Attendees will walk away with provocative questions about relating established and emerging disciplines within the mental health field (such as Psychiatry and Peer Work respectively). Organisational representatives should feel equipped to consider their role within the broader context of mental health services, and will be provoked to build collaborative relationships with other providers and services around a common vision of healthy communities.
Learning Objective 2: This presentation draws upon personal and professional experience in engaging mental health service delivery. This has led to a recognition of a particular pattern within the mental health field of individuals and organisations competing for authority and decision-making power – often to the detriment of the individual seeking support. The examples, case studies and personal reflections will all draw specifically on the topic of mental health.
References Cabassa, L.J., Camacho, D., Velez-Grau, C.M & Stefancic., A.G. Peer-based health interventions for people with serious mental illness: A systematic literature review. Journal of Psychiatric Resources, 2017, 84, 80-89. S0022395616304113
Scheffler, R., Grogan, C., Cuffel., B & Penner, S. Illness Under Managed Competition. Psychiatric Services, 1993, 44(10), 937-942. doi/abs/10.1176/ps.44.10.937
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