SYMPOSIUM: Harvesting The Work: Reflecting On The Intersections Between Mental Health And The Effects Of Trauma And Abuse

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Authors: Coralie Haynes, SA, Celia Karpfen, SA, Jo Campbell, NSW and Mailin Suchting, SA

Year: 2005

Event: 2005 TheMHS Conference

Subject: lived experience, trauma,

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 0975765310

Abstract: The lived experience of many consumers of mental health services and a range of studies have highlighted that many people who have mental health problems and or mental illness have histories of trauma.

Despite the high prevalence of interpersonal trauma such as sexual assault, domestic violence, physical abuse, related effects in people who have mental health problems or mental illness, there exists considerable constraints within the mental health field and generalist services to address these issues.

Too often there is a tendency to focus solely on the person’s mental health issues in isolation of the trauma. When trauma is not acknowledged and responded to effectively, this can result in the continuation or exacerbation of their mental health problems.

Addressing the intersection between the effects of abuse, discrimination and trauma and the experience of mental illness has been an area of growing interest for consumer and survivor groups and workers in mental health services, sexual assault, trauma and women’s services alike - and an ongoing process for Aboriginal and transcultural services.

One place where this interest has been demonstrated is previous TheMHS Conferences. Examples include papers by consumers of mental health services on their work as consumer consultants, on the links between hospital admission and PTSD, on personal stories of ‘recovery’. Other examples include a range of presentations, and accredited training for clinicians, domestic violence and sexual assault workers, the employment of mental health consumer and sexual assault consultants in psychiatric wards, the establishment of peer supervision groups by mental health workers and the exploration of collaborative approaches for women experiencing complex trauma.

This symposium seeks to extend on the growing body of knowledge within the mental health and related fields that incorporates a trauma sensitive approach to mental health.

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