“I set out the case for this in an article last year entitled ‘It’s time to make Mental Health Act interviews more dialogical’ and also in an episode of the Relational Psychiatry vlog by Russell Razzaque. It has been brilliant to receive so many supportive responses from AMHPs and indeed psychiatrists around the country, and although anecdotal, I get the distinct sense that dialogical ideas are strongly resonating with AMHPs as we seek to freshen up our practice in the face of new and old problems in the mental health system.
It is a well-trodden path in AMHP meetings that AMHPs often encounter resource barriers in our quest to secure good outcomes for people in crisis – whether this is frustration with the paucity of meaningful alternatives to psychiatric admission or with the inability to secure timely admission when it is really needed. Yet what has perhaps been overlooked for too long is that the most important resource in AMHP work is actually oneself. AMHP work is a deeply relational activity – it demands that we get alongside people and their families quickly and sensitively during a period of significant distress and upheaval in the social system so that we may understand how and when to intervene. It demands that we listen, listen and listen some more – not only to those with loud and strident voices but to those who may struggle to be heard despite often having equally compelling things to say. And it demands that we listen to ourselves – to our own conflicts, to our own internal voices, and to our biases and vulnerabilities as we wrestle with the messy realities of making complex decisions about people’s lives and care …”
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