Supporting People with Severe Mental Health Conditions

Course overview

This two day course for support staff and their managers focuses on the support needs of people experiencing severe mental health conditions such as bi polar disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions.

Delegates will have the opportunity to review common signs and symptoms of these conditions and consider causes from medical, psychosocial and cultural perspectives.

Treatment and support options, including medical and psychological interventions, self-management and peer support  will be reviewed and delegates will get an update on the current structure of the mental health services and the professionals that might be involved in someone’s care.

Delegates will then be able to use this knowledge to focus more specifically on the types of practical help and support that staff can offer to service users in their care.

Course content

  • The main features of the range of severe mental health conditions including bi polar disorder, schizophrenia and related psychotic conditions
  • The range of possible causes of these conditions including biological, psychosocial and cultural perspectives
  • Recovery from severe mental health problems
  • The structure of mental health services and treatment pathways
  • What mental health professionals might be involved in a service user’s care and support
  • The range of medications prescribed for severe conditions
  • Intended and unintended (side) effects of prescribed medications
  • How to facilitate dialogue around the pros and cons of taking prescribed medications
  • How the stress vulnerability model seeks to explain the development and maintenance of severe mental health problems
  • How to use the stress vulnerability model to structure support, including support during a crisis, addressing multiple ongoing stressors and building resilience
  • The range of possible risks associated with severe mental health conditions including suicide, violence and aggression.
  • How to take a structured approach to managing risks in the support setting including preventative, crisis and post incident strategies
  • How to use a psychologically informed formulation to arrive at a shared understanding of a person’s situation and generate effective support strategies
  • Practical strategies for supporting someone who hears voices
  • Practical strategies for supporting someone holding unusual beliefs (‘delusions’)
  • Practical strategies for supporting someone experiencing  bi polar disorder – coping with manic, agitated and anxious states and impulsive behaviours
  • Supporting self-management of severe mental health conditions
  • The importance of ordinary and peer support  in recovery toward health
  • Where to access further information and support – recommended resources for service users, family, cares and support staff


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