Had been meaning for a while to start posting in this thread from time to time. I think anything positive, either from the media or from individuals' lives, no matter how minor or trivial, would be relevant here
Some recent good news for me - a number of potential opportunites for volunteer work in mental health have come up.... it is not easy to find volunteer work in mental health that is relevant for practising skills with a view towards paid work in the field, but it seems staying in the loop/networking is finally paying off!
Also a few weeks ago I attended this course (was very lucky to be one of those selected for a place in it, in fact): http://www.ourconsumerplace.com.au/article?id=5303
(My having personal experience of clinical depression qualifies me as a "peer" in mental health work.) It might be a long time, if ever, before I have the opportunity to put ALL elements of the programme into practice, because the ideal working situation it describes is for the worker to spend enough time one-on-one with a client to build a relationship BEFORE starting to talk about goals, and for the worker not to be required to take on the role of a "helper" or to report information about a client to the team or supervisor (unless it's with the client's prior permission, or in the relatively rare instance of it being genuinely necessary for reasons of safety). Naturally though, any worker (not even just Peer Support Workers) can put a lot of the principles into practice though..... what's more, it's was fantastic training in regards to communication skills in general, including listening (and the traps that prevent real listening), being aware of making assumptions, being aware of one's "word views" and how they were learned, taking risks, being honest about feelings, victim/persecutor/rescuer triangle etc. etc. Although it was crammed into five consecutive days, the group discussions seemed to bring about learning in a way that wouldn't have been possible to achieve just from reading the information. Now, I am gradually working my way through the big workbook that was provided in the course!