The role of community organizations in Supported Self-Management

Community organizations have played a pivotal role in the development of Supported Self-management (SSM) for many years. The key element in that support is ensuring that individuals afflicted with a mental disorder are involved in decisions about their own mental health.

Community groups promote the ability of individuals to recognize their inner strengths, which will help them better understand their mental health. These groups encourage individuals to develop strategies to more effectively manage early warning signs of their illness and associated symptoms in view of preventing deterioration and relapse. Interventions are person-centred, so that individuals can choose the most suitable treatments and social support.

People who are worried about their mental health often already have their own prejudices about available treatments and support. Whether they are accurate or not, these prejudices must be confronted by facts. Individuals can then weigh the pros and cons of therapeutic options presented to them and undertake a Self-Management approach to mental health care.

Most mental health sufferers enter the system through community organizations, which provide quick access to active listening, relevant and accurate information as well as references that take individual needs into account. This marks the starting point for SSM-based healing focused on the positive message that getting better is possible by actively participating in our own recovery.

Finally, a close relationship must develop between the individuals asking for help, their loved ones, community mental health organizations and health care professionals. Individuals must be actively engaged in the healing process. SSM provides the autonomy required to regain positive mental health. In other words, interventions will be more effective if individuals understand why they are receiving them, allowing them to collaborate at their own pace and intensity, and according to their needs and abilities. By working in this manner, community organizations are proving to be essential SSM resources.


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