Components & Principles of Effective Treatments in Mental Health

For interventions (to at least be perceived) to be effective in the treatment of mental health conditions, from the perspective of the service user, there are a range of components that one must understand and appreciate.

  • Facilitative service environment(s):
    • Understand how the environment can affect a service user’s experience of treatment.
    • Prioritise good relationships between staff/volunteers and those using the services.
    • Taking a genuine interest in the service user.
    • Being respectful.
    • Helps service users feel at ease and prevent relapse.
  • Access to appropriate treatment(s).
  • Compassionate and non-judgemental support.
    • This can include peer, practical, and emotional support.
  • Interventions that are long enough in duration:
    • Treatment needs to be long enough in duration for the service user to avoid relapse and/or move into recovery.
    • Need for ongoing support.
    • Aftercare programme as a way of ensuring a supportive network to prevent relapse.
  • Interventions that offer stability.
  • Choices (in terms of treatment).
    • Service users like to feel they have a choice in their treatment.
    • Want to be treated as individuals.
    • Individualised care means provider must have flexibility in service delivery.
  • Opportunities to learn (or relearn) how to live.
    • Treatment should be seen as providing opportunities for service users to learn (vocational/life) skills to support them to live their lives.
    • This can aid service users to steer away from problematic patterns of behaviour by providing structure and purpose, alleviating boredom, and distraction from their condition.

The above should be provided with the following three principles in mind:

  1. Within the context of good relationships.
    • You are not there to be the service user’s best friend, but good/positive relationships aid effectiveness of treatment and perceptions of service.
  2. Person-centred care.
    • Where appropriate and practicable, the service/treatment should fit around the service user, not the service user around the service/treatment.
  3. Understanding the complexity of the service user’s (both personal and professional) circumstances.
    • Understanding of the service user’s circumstances can aid adherence to treatment and their journey through their condition.

Finally, remember that the way in which services and treatment are delivered, is considered by many service users, to be more important than the type of treatment provided.

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