Influence and participation can be a rewarding experience for staff, helping them to develop a deeper appreciation of the issues people with mental health problems face. But it’s important to prepare yourself for some difficulties you might encounter along the way.
The nature of working with and for people with mental health problems involves having to be prepared for times when things aren’t easy. Staff have reported that one of the most challenging aspects of involving people with mental health problems is how to respond when they talk about distressing experiences during influence and participation activities.
It’s important for staff to:
Lending a friendly ear can help, but bear in mind the need to maintain appropriate boundaries. You can find out more in the Planning section. It can be helpful to have details of organisations and local services to hand to enable you to easily signpost if required. This could include the Mind InfoLine, Samaritans, the local Mind and Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
Enabling staff to have access to training can help them to feel better equipped in challenging situations. Topics could include: