When people talk about managing mental health the most frequent thing to do is to recourse to self help or looking to services to help. There is less recognition of the power of social networks for help and support based on connections and reciprocity around us.
Separating out the individual from their need for other people and ability to mobilise resources in order to manage effectively, has meant that the notion of a personal community of support (the array of personal ties with which people are located and embedded) has not tended to be included in understanding or responding to mental health need.
Now there’s a nascent social movement about networks.
The event in Southampton attracted organisations* from across the Wessex region and beyond and a wide range of people including the public, paramedics, nursing staff, clinicians, managers and researchers.
Many stakeholders were represented bringing together 44 delegates, all there to examine and reflect on whether the ReSPECT approach to decision making for emergency care should be adopted.
Having conversations about the best course of action in the event a person’s condition deteriorates is difficult for everyone involved, whether it is the patient themselves, their family or carer and the clinician.
After an initial study on Advance Care Planning (A. Richardson, S. Lund1), research into the current application of treatment escalation plans across the country, and early engagement with some of the acute trusts in the Wessex region, it was apparent there was a desire to improve this process.
Professor Anne Rogers explains how weaker social ties play a role in helping people manage a long term illness.
With ever more attention on the NHS and how many nurses and doctors are needed to give people the best care, one part of the health equation is going unnoticed – What attention is being paid to the role of the patient and their extended network of relationships? In early 70s West Coast America a piece of research by Anselm Strauss and colleagues examined a set of questions on ‘self-care’.
Here at the CLAHRC Wessex we have been using and developing an interactive tool called GENIE . This is designed to engage and link people with long-term health conditions to social activities and support they value and find useful.
We have been working on the Isle of Wight with the My Life a Full Life team and other organisations to see how we can integrate GENIE as part of day-to-day support for people. Last week we had our first meeting, after months of using the system there to work towards making GENIE ‘Business as Usual’.
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