Curriculum Development, Training and Mentoring

Helping Independent Living Centers Meet the Needs of People with Psychiatric Disabilities

The Community Consortium's training and consultation package is designed to provide Independent Living Center (ILC) administrators and staff with the tools needed to implement a program of outreach and service to people with psychiatric disabilities that is based on their lived experience and self-expressed needs. The package is tailored to the individual needs of each ILC, and begins with a telephone consultation with key staff to discuss the specific local issues and conditions to be addressed. This is followed by a proposed training outline, to be reviewed and modified by the ILC. We believe that one-shot training is not sufficient for real change, so we offer both pre- and post-training consultation and mentoring by phone and e-mail.

While each training package will be unique to the needs of the ILC being served, our training can include a number of core modules that address some basic issues of common interest. Among these topics are:

  • The structure and practices of the public mental health system, and its impact upon the lives of people with psychiatric disabilities
  • Common mental health interventions, such as medications, electroshock, restraint and seclusion, and forced treatment, and the impact of these interventions.
  • A history of the mental health consumer/survivor/ex-patient (c/s/x) movement
  • The variety of lived experiences of mental patients, through oral histories and videos
  • Human rights and social justice issues for c/s/x
  • Self-help and peer support services for people with psychiatric disabilities
  • Various models of the etiology of "mental illness," and the strategies for engagement and service provision suggested by each model
  • Human rights and social justice issues for c/s/x
  • Myths, stereotypes and discrimination in the community

The training uses a variety of approaches, including small group discussion, video, multi-media presentations, role-playing, and group exercises. Our goals is to help each ILC identify the specific local barriers to serving people with psychiatric disabilities, and to generate useful solutions and approaches to these challenges.