Katherine Ponte and Izzy Gonçalves
Consumers, who live with a mental health condition, and loved ones working together using clear, supportive, and compassionate communication achieve better outcomes. The Collaborative Care Plan (“CCP”) provides a framework for mental health consumers, their loved ones, and clinicians to better communicate. The goal is to facilitate shared decision-making by incorporating the expectations, needs, and roles of all participants. Balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of the consumer and their loved ones is a sound foundation for long term recovery. Using the CCP, the consumer's care network together develops treatment objectives, responsibilities, and action plans. Developing a CCP when participants have clarity of mind without the pressures of an unfolding crisis can help mitigate and manage the everyday challenges and extreme uncertainty associated with mental illness. The biggest uncertainty may well be how we will be impacted and behave in a mental health crisis. Moreover, the CCP can make both the consumer and their loved ones feel better about the treatment process as they all have a say and sense of ownership in the process. This dynamic may foster a virtuous cycle of improved interpersonal relations, decreased symptomology, increased consumer compliance, improved self-care, and reduced caregiver fatigue.
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