A Vision For Change: The Recovery Model And Irish Mental Health Services

3506 words - 14 pages

A Vision for Change details a comprehensive model of mental health service provision for Ireland. It describes a framework for building and fostering positive mental health across the entire community and for providing accessible, community based specialist services for people with mental illness (HSE, 2012). It focuses on a person-centred treatment approach, which looks at each element through an integrated care plan for service users, with special emphasis put on involving the service users, their families and carers at every level of treatment. Being involved in mental health services is more than the service user being diagnosed or attending consultation, they must be at the centre of the decision making. This is integral to recovery as they hold a very unique insight into the experiences of mental health issues and hold a greater awareness of public perception, and in some cases, the stigma associated with mental illness. As the latter can result in social exclusion, the importance of the views of service users in formulating the Vision for Change policy is clear and is shown by the inclusion of users at all levels of the process (Vision for Change, 2006. Pg 24).

A Vision for Change gives a Model for Service User Involvement in mental health services. This pyramid-style framework shows that users and carers should participate at all levels of the system. It is important that they are active partners in their own recovery and the model demonstrates this by the progression of levels. Firstly, Individual level - user and carer involved in their own care planning process, community level - advocacy services available for users and carers to provide education and training. This level, I feel, is particularly important, as while recovery is often defined in terms of an ongoing process requiring a change in attitudes and values (Repper and Perkins, 2003), it is also identified with learning and growth (Fisher, 2000; Turner, 2002; Whitehill, 2003). The next level - Mental health service level – highlights peer provided mental health services and placement on catchment management teams. Finally, the National Service User Executive - involvement in implementing and evaluating the new mental health policy.

Health services in Ireland developed in parallel with health services in Britain throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries - during most of the latter period, the Irish service developed its own direction. Until the 1960’s the activities of psychiatric nurses in Ireland were based in hospitals. The Department of Health (1966) issued a report ‘The Commission of Inquiry on Mental Illness’ where it was recommended that mental hospitals should be seen as centres of rehabilitation, with their aims of returning clients to the community - instead of being seen or used as centres of custodial care and as a result, causing those using the services to be institutionalized and unable to return back into the community. While...

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