Take a closer look at the critical skills you’ll learn:

Section One: Understanding Mental Health Social Support

Introducing the notion of “Mental Health Social Support”, Section One delineates the aims and objectives of the course, then continues with the section’s main topic: the theoretical underpinnings of Mental Health Social Support (MHSS). The section defines MHSS, explains the various aspects of it, and describes the four main types of Mental Health Social Supporters. Examples are offered of MHSS programs targeting different types of “helpees”, and research is cited to demonstrate the benefits MHSS can provide recipients.

Section Two: Mental Health Social Support – Needs, Traps and Qualities

Various (normal) human motivations for offering assistance to others are described, along with notes of caution as to how each – while generally serving the helpee – could come to limit the help being offered if the helper is unaware of his or her own needs. Several helping “traps” are explored: potential pitfalls in the helping process arising from lack of awareness on the part of the helper. A final subsection asks helpers to begin thinking through their own vision of the ideal helper.

Section Three: Responsibilities when providing Mental Health Social Support

Section Three covers responsibilities of the helper when providing MHSS, including responsibilities towards the helpee; and responsibilities of the helper towards him/herself. It explores the role of codes of ethics in helping, and issues to keep in mind to avoid ethical transgressions. The responsibility to empower helpees is highlighted through a case study focusing on community empowerment. Acceptance of the helpee is at the root of all successful helping, and the elements of this are explored. The role of emotional integrity in maintaining high-quality helping relationships is detailed.

Section Four: Working with helpees – Emotions, Thoughts and Behaviours

In Section Four you’re introduced to the three stages of the helping cycle. It introduces the idea that at the first stage of the helping cycle, helpees need to be comforted, and so the helper is focused primarily on working with helpee emotions. As the intense (or intensely blocked) emotion of the helpee is tended to and some comfort is received, attention can turn to the second stage of the helping process: that of offering encouragement. This occurs primarily through micro-skills aimed at working with helpees’ thoughts. As helpees begin to envision a more hopeful future, they want to know how they can attain it. The last part of the section details considerations for this third stage of the helping cycle, in which the helper offers practical guidance by working with helpee behaviours.

Section Five: The Micro-Skills of Mental Health Social Support

This section works through the Skilled Helper Model as a framework for the micro-skills that they can use to assist helpees manage their problems more effectively and develop life-enhancing opportunities more fully. It details various micro-skills, including video demonstration of micro-skills in various simulated environments.

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