A while back (quite some time ago), I had an interview with NCSS (the type which you sign up for) which was unpaid and voluntary. I decided to sign up because I had a lot to say. And these are some of the suggestions I made.
Having a drop-in centre/crisis centre for mental health patients
There is always a prodromal period/a period where warning signs appear before the person becomes acutely ill. More often than not, the waiting times for clinics/psychotherapy are long, and if you are in crisis, you have to go to the A&E. But I think this would be a good avenue for patients who do not wish to rush to the A&E, or they are having a semi-crisis but maybe not a full-blown one. Ideally, there should be counsellors, some activities, maybe a bed area for rest. It is like a retreat/sanctuary, but with supervision from some mental health professionals.
Greater variety of jobs for mental health patients
Gardening, baking, art, these are all therapeutic for mental health patients. However, I often see lots of very basic jobs such as service crew, cashiering, admin assistant, cleaner, kitchen assistant offered to mental health patients. Granted, some may have cognitive deficits which hamper their ability to do PMET jobs. But at least give us variety. Personally, I am bored of these types of jobs(did not go through mental health agencies, independently applied), and I want to try something new. Like gardening. SAMH had some art skills sessions for the beneficiaries of SAMH, and they taught clients how to paint etc., and SAMH would sell the artwork, and part of the proceeds would go back to the patients.
I heard Equal Ark hires people with mental health conditions. This is a step in the right direction. Bakery Wellness is a baking startup initiative set up by a fellow person in recovery, but as of now, there doesn’t seem to be vacancies for assistant bakers. If such opportunities are only limited to a select pool of applicants, I think its time to widen the scope.
Build more psychiatric wards in general hospitals
Some psychiatric wards in general hospitals might be more conducive for recovery as compared to acute wards. There is a MDU and EPIP ward in IMH. I think the less well-furnished wards should be refurbished for a better patient experience.
Uh oh, I am having a mental block. I remember I suggested a lot of stuff but I can’t quite remember what I said…