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Project at RETHINK
David Martyn, Self-Management Project Manager, describes how RETHINK was looking at a new approach to living with schizophrenia. Please note that this is a historical review which we've kept because it's worthwhile, but that doesn't mean it refers to things that are current!
Readers of Perceptions will know that RETHINK has been taking an interest in the Recovery approach and is looking at ways of incorporating it into its services. Derek Turner has been working on this for RETHINK and wrote an article in Perceptions 2.
One strand of the Recovery approach, perhaps the major strand, is self-management. RETHINK has employed me to look at self-management, to find out what it is and how people with a schizophrenia diagnosis might use it. The hope is that we will be able to develop some sort of programme that will teach and support people to self-manage more effectively.
What is self-management?
My understanding of self-management is that it is something we all do, and it is whatever we do to live our lives as fully, successfully, happily, whatever, in accord with our own values and goals. Everybody has difficulties and constraints in their lives, and part of self-management is coping with our limitations. People with schizophrenia have to cope with some difficulties not experienced by others (specific symptoms), and some difficulties shared with some others, such as people with other long-term illnesses and disabilities, as well as the difficulties we all share in living a human life.
I imagine, at this early stage of my work, (but I am open to changing my mind as I learn from others), that a self-management programme for people with a schizophrenia diagnosis will look just as much at self-management strategies that are common to everyone as at strategies specific to people with this condition.
I have been working for over ten years in the mental health field, primarily in employment projects and supporting user-led services. My focus has always been on how people with a mental health problem can live as full a life as possible, as independently as possible of the mental health system. So I am very excited to be working with RETHINK on Recovery and self-management.
My personal investment in this is that I have lived my life with depression, and have had to find my own path of recovery and self-management. I will try to be open enough to bring my own life experience with me into my work, and I look forward to listening and learning from others.
How you can help
The success of this project depends on people living with schizophrenia coming forward to talk about how they have coped with their condition and what has helped them live their life as fully as possible. I also want to hear about what sort of self-management programme would help them live their lives still more fully in the future (or what sort of self-management programme in the past would have helped them get where they are now.)
If you would like to share your experiences and ideas, please get in touch with me at the address below.
There will be opportunities to talk to me in one-to-one interviews, in person or on the phone, to respond in writing, or to take part in discussion groups where you will be able to share your thoughts with other people with a schizophrenia diagnosis.
I want to ensure that women and people from minority ethnic groups are able to share their particular concerns and self-help strategies, and there will be at least one women-only discussion group, which will be facilitated by a woman, and at least one group for people from a minority ethnic group, facilitated by someone who is from a minority ethnic group.
Everyone who takes part will receive a report at the end of my work, and will be invited to comment on it.
There is also a (user-only) steering group, which meets in London every 6 8 weeks to talk over the progress of my work and give me ideas. There are some places available on this, so do let me know if you are interested in serving on it. Be prepared for disappointment, though, as places are limited.
I look forward to hearing from you.
This was all a while ago, so we've taken away the info about what you should do if you'd like to volunteer, because this is not a current project. However, it was a success!
Hallucinatory Mouse number 17 =>
This page has been updated! See Self-Management Update
Also see Response by Chris