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Stuart: Welcome back! We’re now going to talk about individualised treatment.
Atlanta: When you encounter a young person, it is essential to treat us as an individual, understanding that we are just that; a unique person, with a full, complex identity, which needs to be honoured and included when speaking with and supporting us.
Stuart: Mental health treatment is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Everyone will have their own individual ways of coping, understanding and communicating.
Atlanta: Listen to the needs of the individual in front of you, and work to make sure they are able to share with you comfortably. Meet us where we are, and bring with you genuine curiosity and compassion for us.
Stuart: Understand that not everyone with the same diagnosis will exhibit the same symptoms, so don’t dismiss what they’re saying, just because it doesn’t fit.
Atlanta: We are all unique, and that’s a good thing! We can’t always be placed neatly in a tick-box list.
Stuart: As well, not everyone will present with physical symptoms. That doesn’t mean that they are not in any mental or emotional pain, and their mental symptoms need to be treated. People with mental health needs should have the same access to support and services as people with physical health needs.
Atlanta: It’s also nice to have some additional communication support for disabled and neurodiverse people. Do you have BSL support or other measures already in place? Some options to help communication could be writing things down, or using pictures or colours to describe experiences or emotions. If these options don’t work for the young person you are seeing, ask what may help them to communicate what they need. Sometimes online or text-based support can be a solution.
Stuart: Actually, asking is always a great place to start with any young person. Many of us will be aware of our needs and how best to communicate them. Ask us what works, and if there’s anything we’re aware of that will help.
Atlanta: Up next, we are going to be taking you through exactly what young people are looking for in a person that supports them in a mental health crisis.
Mental health treatment is not a one size fits all concept. Everyone will have their own individual ways of coping, understanding, and communicating their needs. We want to be treated as unique individuals with a full complex identity, all which needs to be considered when supporting us.
Asking with genuine curiosity and listening is a great place to start. Many of us will be aware of our needs, and how best to communicate them. Ask us what works, and if there is anything we’re aware of that will help.
Additional communication options for disabled and neurodiverse people such as BSL support, paper to write things down, and using pictures or colours to describe experiences or emotions can help facilitate effective communication. It shows your effort to meet us where we are, curiosity and compassion for us.
Although some of us have similar diagnoses, we might exhibit different physical or mental symptoms, so don’t dismiss what someone is saying just because it doesn’t ‘fit’ with their diagnosis. People with mental health needs should have the same access to services and support as people with physical health needs.
“We are all unique, and that’s a good thing! Humans cannot always be placed neatly in a tick-box list!”
Do you have BSL support or other measures already in place? If not, who can you speak to about making it available?