20 July 2020

Workbook to help people with learning disabilities who experience psychosis

UP Workbook

Understanding a diagnosis of psychosis can be difficult and challenging for anyone, but can be even more so for someone with a learning disability.

But now a group of clinicians from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust have developed a set of resources to help clinicians working with people who experience psychosis and who also have a learning disability or other communication needs.

It comes after the team found that very little information about psychosis was available for people with learning disabilities.

The resources, which include a 180-page workbook and over 350 illustrated sorting cards, have been developed with input from service users with experience of psychosis, and are written in accessible language and illustrated with cartoons. They have been designed to help service users talk about their experiences and understand more about psychosis, with the aim of developing a 'Staying Well Plan', specific to their needs.

Dr Amy Canning, Clinical Psychologist with the Forensic, Intellectual, Neuropsychiatric and Development Disorders (FIND) Team, at AWP, said: "We have worked closely with service users and other clinicians to ensure the resources meet their needs and we are delighted that the workbook is now available. We've already received quite a few requests for the resources, including from as far away as Italy, and we have had positive feedback from the service users and clinicians who have used them so far. It's great that the resources are being used and that they are helping people."

Two service users who have used the resources commented: "I liked the sorting cards because it made it a bit easier to think about different symptoms I had," and "I liked how it enabled you to understand your ups and downs. It was really cool."

A carer who has also used the workbook commented: "It has been really helpful. I now understand that anyone can get psychosis, it has helped me to understand their behaviour."

Dr Hannah Toogood, Consultant in learning disability psychiatry for the FIND Team, said: "We believe that everyone should have access to health information in a way that works for them. We hope that this resource will help empower people to ask questions, and to be as involved as they wish in making plans for managing their mental health difficulties."    

The team has so far received more than 100 requests from other mental health services across the country.

The resources are available for free to all NHS clinicians and can be accessed from the AWP website but are only available to clinicians upon request. They are free to all NHS organisations, but the Trust would welcome a donation to its charity Headlight, which provides funding for projects to enhance the care and support provided by AWP throughout the year, from any other organisations which would like to use them. Please contact awp.UPworkbook@nhs.net for more details.

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