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Mental Health is a common issue but it is not something we want to talk about or be associated with everyday. It is not given enough priority of an assessment that we try to perceive it generally as normal. According to the World Health Organization, mental illness accounts for 15% of the total burden of disease in the developed world. Depression is on its way to set as a leading cause of disability by 2020.
This paper will highlight the policies, strategies and initiatives that the government is putting effort to protect its population from the impacts of mental disorders. In addition to, it will also focus how as diversional therapist help to improve the quality of life of those currently suffering with the disease.
Recent Changes in Mental Health Policy
The government of New Zealand is focused on improving mental health. In November of 2012, the cabinet approved a 5 year strategy entitled Rising to the Challenge: The Mental Health and Addiction Service Plan 2012-2017. After gathering of data on mental health status of the country, the priorities were as follows:
- Effective usage of resources
- Integration of primary and specialist services
- Resiliency and recovery among low and high prevalence needs
- Resilience and recovery for Maori and Pacific people, refugees, people with disabilities and other groups
- Increased access and services for adults with high prevalence
- Supporting and strengthening our workforce
The challenge is how to work together in the community level to guarantee a consistent and seamless service.
Impact of the change in policy in Diversional Therapy
The updates in mental strategies by the government will allow diversional therapist to effectively promote the mental health’s vision and mission of the government. This is to have tools to weather adversity, active support of well being, attain full potential of family, whӑnau and communities by utilization of resources and infrastructures set by the government. The critical area in achieving the vision is how we as diversional therapist through our activities can promote mental health, prevent and help in removing the stigma of mental health through government programs and seminars.
It is interesting to point out to be keen and give a special consideration to the Maori and the Pacific communities wherein they are greatly affected by mental health compared to other population.
Changes in Health Initiatives
Like Minds, like Mine- this is a program established by the Ministry of Health in response to the Mason report of 1996. The campaign is to reduce the stigma and discrimination of mental health. The previous plan expired on June 30, 2013. In conjunction with the health strategy by the government, the national plan of 2014-2019 came about with the following focus of change:
- Leadership and coordination
- Social model of disability
- Power of contact
- Social inclusion
- Multi-level approaches
Impact of the change in health initiatives in Diversional Therapy
As a diversional therapist we must gear towards inclusion of people with mental illness not exclusion. In support of the initiative; we must plan our activities in a way mentally challenged clients can participate in activities by the general population. They should be able to benefit in these areas:
Therapeutic gains- through planned activities we help them to cope effectively, gain self-confidence, increase productivity, and improve concentration thus easing their way back into the community.
Socialization- to aim is to allow clients establish new friends and to have fun.
Secondary gains- decrease boredom and to avoid sitting around doing nothing and offers escape from hospital or rest home routines.
Importance of current best practice
Innovation is the key to development. We should continue to work smarter not harder. We should be more efficient. We should have the drive to improve our skills and knowledge. Change should be for the better.
It is imperative to stay updated and well informed all the time to minimise health risks and errors, to take advantage of new information, and to offer the best possible care for our clients. In so doing, we will be able to understand and empathise well. In this way we are able to remove if not reduce the stigma of mental health.
Diversional Therapy Practice
As a competent and qualified diversional therapist we identify suitable activities for our client. Games, sports, events and activities are tailored in providing increased autonomy, self confidence, happiness and feeling more relaxed and calm at the end of sessions. The primary goal is to enhance overall physical and mental health at the same time. We try to avoid dwelling on the past and exploration of their anxiety and depression instead it is all about loosening up and having a good time. We create, design and modify these activities to make it appropriate. We also take into account the risk management involved and appropriate solutions to individuals with specific needs to attain quality. It is vital to evaluate outcomes of our activities and also take into consideration the client feedback. Another vital key to point out is to integrate the activity among the general population to include the mentally challenged as part of the community. In this way, we are able to adapt and make necessary changes to make our activities a lot meaningful and beneficial to them.
The efforts of the government to protect its population from the negative impacts of mental health is clearly addressed with the various health initiatives and changes in the strategies to best cope with the ever changing aspects of the problem.
As health advocates we are also given the knowledge, tools and resources at our disposal to utilise to improve the quality of our clients. It is in the belief in these steps that we are creating improvement to push forward into the future wherein someday the issue no longer exists.
• Ministry of Health. (December, 2012). Rising to the Challenge. The Mental Health and Addiction Service Development Plan 2012-2017. Retrieved from: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/assets/ResourceFinder/rising-to-the-challenge-mental-health-addiction-service-development-plan.pdf. Accessed on 22 January 2019.
• Ministry of Health. (2 December, 2014). Mental health organizations and initiatives. Retrieved from: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addictions/mental-health. Accessed on 22 January 2019.
• Ministry of Health. (May 2014). Like Minds, Like Mine National Plan 2014-2019. Retrieved from: https://www.likeminds.org.nz/assets/National-Plans/like-minds-like-mine-national-plan-2014-2019-may14.pdf. Accessed on 22 January 2019.
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