Collaborative partnerships and meaningful engagement

Collaborative partnerships and meaningful engagement: This domain details how mental health professionals can engage with people at all times in ways that are conducive to supporting their recovery efforts. Central to recovery-oriented practice is the development of collaborative partnerships between mental health professionals and people accessing the service, which are inclusive of their support networks and significant others. These partnerships involve health professionals providing information, skills, networks and support to people to maximise their choices, manage their mental health and wellbeing and get access to the resources they need. This relationship is characterised by openness, equality, a focus on people's strengths, reciprocity and power sharing (Shepard, Boardman & Slade 2008).

  • Core principles
    • Mental health services provide personalised care through meaningful engagement and collaborative practices, ensuring that people are able to exercise optimal choice, personal agency and flexibility.
    • Recovery-oriented mental health care involves working sensitively, responsively, respectfully and collaboratively with people and their support networks.
    • Mental health services work constructively with people to make sense of their experiences and to find positive meaning in their personal stories.
    • Mental health services work to promote people's mental health, wellbeing and recovery by establishing and sustaining collaborative partnerships with people.
  • Key capabilities

    Mental health professionals

    • work in partnership and engage meaningfully with people and their significant others
    • demonstrate genuine care, warmth, consideration, honesty, transparency and empathy in their interactions with people
    • communicate respectfully and sensitively with people at all times, using non-judgemental, positive and affirming language
    • respond to people's self-defined goals and aspirations in their practice
    • listen, reflect and respond to people's lived experience and expertise
    • value collaborative approaches to working with people and their support networks
    • acknowledge, value and respond to people's lived experience and that of their support people and significant others
    • are committed to promoting people's choice and personal agency by eliciting and responding to people's unique wishes, needs, cultural values and circumstances
    • utilise well developed interpersonal skills to successfully build positive collaborative relationships with people and their significant others
    • use their professional expertise to fully inform people of the complete range of options available to them
    • actively seek and incorporate people's preferences and expertise in the provision of mental health care
    • support people to make decisions about their lives and mental health care in accordance with their unique values, strengths, needs, goals and circumstances
    • respond to people's lived experience and adapt their professional practice to suit individual wishes, needs, goals and aspirations
    • support people to find affirmative meaning in their experiences using constructive and recovery-oriented language
    • have knowledge and proficiency in the use of a range of collaborative practices
  • Good practice
    • Demonstrate empathy and respect in all interactions with people and their significant others.
    • Use person-centred humanistic language and do not identify people as their diagnosis.
    • Elicit people's preferences and give people maximum choice in big and small decisions, and be accommodating and flexible in responding to people's preferences.
    • Work to understand what is important to people.
    • Support people to make sense of their experiences and to find positive meaning.
    • Acknowledge and respond to people's views, understandings and experiences.
    • Work with people in the context of their cultural identity and values.
    • Work to understand people's triggers for episodes of 'unwellness' and what they find works well for them in their recovery efforts.
    • Use inquisitive and active listening and personalised, supportive, positive and hopeful language.
    • When a person does not express their point of view, actively seek their viewpoint through gentle enquiry.
    • Use aspects and examples from one's own life and experiences to create a friendly, professional relationship.
    • Utilise professional skills and expertise to provide people with optimal choice and tailored support.
  • Good leadership
    • Review local policies and procedures to incorporate collaborative practice.
    • Recognise that good collaborative care takes time, both time spent with people and within the team.
    • Authorise and support staff to prioritise the space and time necessary for good collaborative practice.
    • Build the requirement for meaningful and collaborative engagement into performance management systems and into business management processes.

Resources Videos