Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Promoting safety and positive risk taking

Promoting safety and positive risk taking

Being honest with service users about not only the positive aspects of pharmacological treatment but also the negative, especially the most serious adverse effects, is a crucial part of enabling self-management and an important part in developing the therapeutic relationship. For a number of people the positive aspects of treatment are limited and the experience of side effects outweighs the positive effects. Furthermore, for some people suffering from serious mental health problems, the prospect of living the rest of their lives taking medication is not a tenable situation. Many people may wish to try maintaining their health and lifestyle drug-free. Service users need to feel able to express this wish to mental health professionals and be supported both practically in terms of, for example, formulating a discontinuation plan, providing information, alternative methods of symptom management and the development of an early warning plan. Practitioners need to provide emotional support that demonstrates an empathic understanding for their decision. Service users may decide to independently and covertly discontinue their medication. The approach supported here is based on the premise that if a service user makes this decision, it is in the service user’s interest if family members and care services know about it. Again, the crucial factor in enabling people to feel comfortable in sharing this information is the relationship they have with those people involved in the care process.

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