Authors: Pauline D'Astoli
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Comorbidity,Advocacy,Lived Experience, Recovery,Promotion, Prevention, Early Intervention
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Carers of family members with an acute chronic mental illness know full well of the many barriers and failings in a health system where there is a wide disparity between the levels of care for physical vs mental health issues. The life expectancy of people with a serious mental illness is up to 30% shorter than the general population. This needs to be changed. Over a long period of time, the carer acting in many roles, such as “advocate” and “care coordinator”, needs to find incredible reserves of strength and determination to gain appropriate services and support for the mentally ill family member whose physical health care is often neglected.
I have developed a reflective action tool to assist me work through difficult emotions to plan a course of action in dealing with professionals and services. This is a tool for me as a carer, when I encounter difficulties, challenges or adverse situations that negatively impact on me in my role of carer/advocate for my family member. I acknowledge my anger and work through this situation to gain clarity about action that addresses and possibly resolves the situation to improve my ability to act for my family member.
Learning Objective 1: To learn of a tool that will assist mental health carers record and reflect on the issues and challenges they face engaging with services, and, clarify a course of action that will lead to a better outcome for their family member and the carer.
Learning Objective 2: Because of the consequences of mental and physical comorbidity in people with a serious mental illness, all parts of the mental health system must recognise that people with a mental illness have the same rights to high quality health care as exists for Australians with a physical illness.
RANZCP, (2015). Keeping Body and Mind Together
Mental Health Commission of New South Wales, (2016).Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing: Evidence Guide, Sydney, Mental Health Commission of NSW