One in four young people will have a diagnosed mental illness in their lifetime. That means one in four young people you come across probably has symptoms of the troubles brewing right before your eyes. As youth workers our training in mental health is limited at best. If oour training is limited then we are severely limited in our ability to support them. Over the coming weeks we will look at a great tool for identifying issues early in a young person… and we all know that early detection leads to the best outcomes for our young people.
One of the best tools I have come across over the years is a Mental State Exam. As a your worker I was initially weary of using another form that put my young people in a “clinical” box. However, as I have used this tool and become more familiar with it I have found that I am able to see minute change in my young people which help me identify potential mental health issues. If you can see the changes early it helps you to support them to get the help they will need.
Over the coming weeks we will show you how to complete a Mental State Exam, What to look out for and when to refer on to the proper treatment. They are a tool, and like any tool it takes practice to master. That is why we will look at one area per week until we have a good understanding. When we have a good understanding then we can put it in the toolbox and use it when the need arises.