Authors: Corinne Henderson, Chris Keyes
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Social Justice,Workforce,Lived Experience, Recovery
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Every day we make a countless number of decisions. They are an expression of who we are - our uniqueness, our relationships with others, our achievements and hopes for the future. Through decision-making we exercise control over our lives, experience new things and learn about ourselves. Decision-making is so important that it is generally recognised as a human right (Council of Australian Tribunals, 2009).
Decision-making is a skill that can be developed and practised with support. Supported decision-making (SDM) can assist a person to live with meaning, dignity and greater independence. SDM is an approach that embraces a set of values and principles designed to support people to make important decisions, exercise legal capacity and exert greater choice and control. It is a key practice improvement area that aligns with best practice in recovery orientation. Practitioners and support workers must understand SDM in the context of people living with mental health conditions, who often experience coexisting difficulties such as impaired cognitive functioning that affects their decision-making capacity. By supporting people to develop goals and make decisions that enhance their quality of life, recovery outcomes can be improved. This is a particularly important objective in relation to ensuring ‘choice and control’ in the emerging NDIS and mental health reform environment.
Learning Objective 1: People attending this presentation will learn how SDM is a practice that can build a worker’s capacity to support clients to make independent decisions; and in-so-doing foster confidence towards increased autonomy and self-determination.
Learning Objective 2: SDM is a human rights approach which aligns with recovery oriented practice, utilising principles entrenched in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It reflects a move away from substitute decision-making, paternalism and risk management. In other words it is about ensuring “will and preference” rather than a “best interests” approach.
Australian Law Reform Commission. (2014). Equality, Capacity and Disability in Commonwealth Laws, Available: https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/3-national-decision-making-principles
Pathare, S., & Shields, L.S. (2012). Supported Decision-Making for Persons with Mental Illness: A Review, Public Health Reviews, 34(2).
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