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Illness self-management programmes 

Illness self-management programmes
Illness self-management programmes
Oxford Textbook of Community Mental Health

Kim T. Mueser

and Susan Gingerich


In recent years there has been a growth in programmes aimed at teaching illness self-management skills to individuals with a major mental illness. This trend reflects a broader trend in modern medicine towards adopting a more collaborative approach that includes the patient and family members in the management of chronic medical disorders. Education about psychiatric disorders and teaching of illness self-management strategies is now a common practice in the mental health field, and a growing number of programmes have been developed with standard curriculum and teaching methods designed to achieve this. While the goal of these programmes is to improve illness self-management through better adherence to treatment recommendations and improved skills for coping with persistent symptoms and impairments, the management of psychiatric disorders in these programmes is generally viewed as a collaborative process that involves the client, treatment team, and family members or friends.

We begin this chapter with a review of factors that led to the development and growth of illness self-management programmes. We then discuss the goals of illness self-management programmes, followed by a review of different approaches to teaching illness self-management. We then address research supporting illness self-management, and briefly describe several programmes. We conclude with a brief summary of illness self-management for people with serious psychiatric disorders.

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