Authors: Dianna Dureau, VIC
Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Training Mental Health Workers,
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: NorthWestern Mental Health is the largest mental health service provider in Victoria. The Mental Health Training and Development Unit (MHTDU) provides workplace training and continuing professional development education for the 1200 person strong workforce of NorthWestern Mental Health. One of the questions posed in the current training environment is how can clinicians sustain the learning and enthusiasm generated from a workshop long enough for it to be translated into effective practice? We believe the “Network for mental health workers addressing sexual abuse issues” is one such initiative. The idea for this support network originated at the workshop “Sexual abuse trauma experienced by mental health clients” presented by The Bouverie Centre in the 2001 MHTDU training calendar. This paper will briefly trace the origins of this initiative, the aims, structure and content of the meetings. Outcomes to date include the creation of a policy document on sexual assault disclosures of registered consumers for incidences of past child or adult sexual assault, regular attendance at monthly meetings, the employment of a convenor with specialist skills and positive feedback from participants. The use of this forum as a reflective space where staff can use the group as a “container” for anxieties arising from the nature of this work will be discussed. Bion’s concept of the “container” is also relevant to the wider organisation that supports this network.