This past Thursday I flew to Sydney for the day to make a presentation on Mentalympians at The Mental Health Services Conference Inc. of Australia and New Zealand (TheMHS). All went well and several audience members gave me their contact details to further discuss the online peer support initiative; which is always encouraging.
Below is the abstract for the presentation.
Paper Title: Mentalympians – A Peer Support System for the 21st Century
Authors: Sebastian Rosenberg & Keith Mahar
Mentalympians is a unique, 21st century peer support online platform that aims to stimulate discussion, collaboration and planning as well the design and development of a ‘community channel’, a multimedia website to be operated by individuals with experience of mental health problems through a global network of mental health consumer groups. Mentalympian is a respectful and strength-based term which describes an individual who competes against stigma, prejudice and/or discrimination by voluntarily disclosing that he or she has personally experienced a mental health problem. Mentalympians draws heavily on Bandura’s (1997) model of self-efficacy which asserts the role of individual volitional thought processes, particularly self-efficacy beliefs, on determining human action. It also draws on the considerable literature in relation to consumer self-stigma, particularly the work of Corrigan, Larson and Rusch (2009), whose research confirms the importance of interaction and group identity on boosting self-efficacy and recovery for marginalised groups. This presentation will give participants all the training they need to become involved in Mentalympians. Learning objectives: TheMHS participants will learn how to get involved in a world-first innovation in mental health consumer advocacy. Mentalympians is a new approach to fighting stigma and creating new opportunities for self-expression and recovery. Consumer self-efficacy and recovery are paramount in effecting quality mental health care. This presentation will review the evidence which supports this and demonstrate a new and exciting internet platform designed specifically to enable consumers to fight self-stigma and build self-efficacy. References: Bandura, A. (1997) Self-Efficacy: the Exercise of Control. New York: W.H. Freeman. Corrigan, P., Larson, J. & Rϋsch, N. (2009) Self-stigma and the “why try” effect: impact on life goals and evidence-based practices.