This course explores the values, attitudes and beliefs of the youth justice worker and the knowledge and skills required to support and enhance wellness with individuals in the community who have mental illness. Students will have opportunities to explore the nature of mental illness through the eyes of individuals who have experienced mental health problems. Community resources and an overview of mental health services available for youth and their families will be discussed.
The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:
- Values, attitudes and beliefs influence our interactions with others.
- Individuals perceive the world in different ways and are the experts in reporting what their experiences mean to them. Communication skills are necessary to facilitate the telling of personal stories and to hear what the personal needs are perceived to be.
- Knowledge, although tentative and changing, assists in dispelling myths and changing attitudes. A basic understanding of current classifications and treatments for mental illness helps to develop values and attitudes necessary for effective worker performance.
- Wellness is a holistic, multidimensional concept. The wellness level of an individual is dynamically interrelated with the family and community.
- Social networks promote wellness and are needed by those whose illness separates them from others. To support individuals with mental illnesses living in the community, the worker needs to locate and be a bridge to access the resources available within a given community.
- Enabling individuals, supporting their right to self-determination and assisting them to develop personal networks and linkages to access community resources, empowers individuals to take increasing initiative for themselves.
- Strategies established through conscious planning of personal support networks, professional development and other means strengthen worker wellness and assist the worker in continued effective performance and sustained job satisfaction.
- A basic knowledge of Provincial Mental Health Services and their relationship to other health and social services will facilitate the worker being able to negotiate with and advocate for individuals needing their services.
- An understanding of the trends in society and the mental health care system facilitates worker objectivity in response to changes which occur in our diverse and complex society.
Means of Assessment
This course will conform to Douglas College Policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations. This will include but not be limited to: written assignments, group presentations, and analysis of skill development.
This is a graded course.
The primary objective is to present students with a broad range of information and concepts that will lead to a broader knowledge of Mental Health / Mental Illness issues as they relate to the youth that they will be working with. The course will also offer significant opportunities to apply this information to enable students to integrate this knowledge to their practice.
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
A. Knowledge of Mental Health/Illness
- demonstrate an understanding of past and present social attitudes towards mental illness and an ability to challenge popular but incorrect beliefs regarding mental illness
- demonstrate an understanding of assessing the presence/absence of mental health/illness
- describe techniques for working with youth with mental disorders
- describe techniques for working with the families of youth with mental disorders.
- demonstrate an understanding of the types of mental illness (medical, psychological, social/environmental) and an appreciation for the resultant treatment approaches (biological, psychotherapeutic, preventative)
- demonstrate an understanding of the DSM-IV diagnostic system and the benefits/liabilities of labeling persons with specific diagnoses
- demonstrate an understanding of the key characteristics of some types of mental illness, (i.e., child and youth disorders, anxiety disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, personality disorders, schizophrenia); an appreciation for predictive risk factors; an understanding for a disorder’s impact on the individual, family and society; and knowledge of past and current treatment approaches
- demonstrate understanding of the cultural variables associated with mental disorders
- demonstrate knowledge of the predictors of suicide risk and prevention strategies
- demonstrate awareness of major medications for specific disorders and their side effects (e.g., anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, anti-depressant and anti-manic medications)
B. Knowledge of the Mental Health System
- demonstrate knowledge of the system of mental health services in Canada and B.C., including forensic services, hospitals, emergency/crisis services, services or persons with mental handicaps, community based psychosocial rehabilitation programs, clubhouses, etc.
- demonstrate knowledge of the role of the youth justice worker as well as the roles of other professionals (e.g., psychiatrists, family physicians, psychologists, social workers, social service workers, nurses, occupational therapists, counsellors, rehabilitation workers) who work in the mental health system
- demonstrate a working knowledge of relevant mental health legislation in British Columbia and an understanding of legal issues which could impact future legislative changes
- demonstrate a basic appreciation for the current consumer and family empowerment initiative and their impact on service delivery
- demonstrate a basic appreciation for current and future directions in mental health policy and planning issues