Relapse Prevention and Recovery... I was the founder of this mental health project 5 years ago. My parents both had mental health disorders; my late father suffered with Paranoid Schizophrenia and my mother suffers with Bi Polar Affective Disorder. From walking through my childhood days helping my mum and dad through their illnesses, I was able to gain knowledge, experience and insight into how our mental health system has and is running - learning that people with mental health issues require care in a different type of framework if they are going to sustain good mental health and have a positive journey out of their existing mental health issues.
I decided to research my interest as to how mental health sufferers can prevent relapse, and upon recovery be able to remain healthy, without needing a return admission into hospital. I learned that from talking to inpatients, that there is not enough post admission support within the community and that their social environments were triggering a relapse into hospital. I became interested in researching the concept of rehabilitation through calmer and rural climates, which are far less stressful and intimidating as opposed to areas in built up busy cities, such as London which are far harder to tackle for people when leaving hospital.
I took service users who were ready to be discharged from hospital to the beautiful area of Devon and Cornwall whereby the service users partook in a rehabilitation project including agriculture, coastal therapy trips and occupational therapy. The findings were that service users recovered faster, were able to cope better in a less stressful environment, and were ready to enjoy and partake in community life without the need for returning to hospital. My mother said about my mental health project that, "It was an enjoyable recovery experience rather than a traumatic one." The project so far has had a 100% success rate and has saved the government the expense of admission fees, due to the project being able to prevent people needing a return to hospital.
My Mental Health Project was able to help individuals whom have suffered anything up to 20 years in hospital sustain a relapse free and enjoyable community life.
The main vision for mental health now in my experience is to ensure there are enough support services that safeguard people from relapse and keep them safe, and ensuring that there are placements for people to be discharged into that are going to allow them a further chance for a sustainable recovery, which can be a very frightening and anxious time for people who have just left hospital.
Gemma is currently in the process of setting up a Domiciliary Care Agency to supply fully trained mental health carers.