Right now I am in the middle of taking a course on mental health, concurrent disorders and psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR). It is an 8 week long course where we learn all about different mental illnesses, what a concurrent disorder is, and the model of PSR. We learned all about the different illnesses, the treatments and the stigmas, how people are diagnosed. All the different types of supports there are out there. What resources are available to people specific to their needs and what supports are lacking?
In the first week we learned about the history of mental health services and the way people were treated up until not too long ago. We learned about the myths and misleading judgments people have and still do make on mental illnesses. In the proceeding weeks after that we learned all about the different illnesses that a surprising number of individuals all around us suffer from every day.
We started off with challenging behaviors and ways to deal with them appropriately. Next was mood disorders such as: depression, bi-polar disorder which is a combination of two altering episodes of mood such as depression and mania. To be manic is to have a highly elevated mood, and dysthymia (mild depression). Then anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety, panic attacks, phobias (specific and social) and Obsessive compulsive disorder. We learned about the different types of personality disorders just a few would be borderline, paranoid, antisocial and narcissistic. We learned all about schizophrenia and what delusions and hallucinations are. We even did a simulation of what it’s like to hear voices which was a real intense experience and help my classmates and I understand and be able to have compassion for someone who is going through these things. We had to do interviews and try and do everyday living activity’s while listening to the simulation and I can tell you it is not for 1 second easy. I feel emotional just thinking back on my experience and the way it made me feel. We gain a better understanding on suicide and how to prevent it as well.
We have learned all about the PSR values goals and principles. Which are basically to help individuals recover, reintegrate in to their community and help them have the quality life they deserve. And while doing that they allow individuals to make the choices for themselves while guiding them gently in the right direction. This helps the have self-determination and regain self-confidence while allowing them to be in control of their destination.
We learned about different supports like vocational rehabilitation, supported education, case management, day programming, residential and independent living services.
Concurrent disorders is when you have a mental illness and you suffer from an addiction/ substance dependency. We spoke about the stigmas of having two different illnesses and how hard it can be to overcome. Approximately 30% of individuals who suffer from mental illness will also abuse substances. 37% of people who have an alcohol dependency will suffer from mental illness and 53% of people addicted to drugs will also suffer from mental illness, I am sure that in reality these numbers are actually lower than they should be. We are also learning about the different ways people are treated, such as in hospitals, treatment centers and in their own community, some will do treatment treating their illnesses separately or at the same time but having multiple illnesses sure makes it hard for an individual to easily recover.
I personally loved this course and it helped me open my eyes more to who I am. I am a person who has concurring disorders and I know how challenging it can be to recover and find balance in life. Honestly I have learned more about myself in 8 week then I have in a really long time, some things made me struggle and something’s helped me find some self-closure but everything has helped me grow so much more and inspires me to be the best person I can be. To use my pain and my struggles to help another in need. Also looking forward to my upcoming courses on marginalized youth and woman studies. I will fill you in on how those go when I get there.
Till next time