Your Guide

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Karen Taylor

Karen worked in NHS in England with both older people and adults of working age as an RMN. She has personal experience of designing, implementing and managing innovative community care services. After leaving worked with Ron Coleman bringing the hearing voices and recovery approach to many Countries . She put all her experiences into running recovery house projects, her learning on working with psychosis is rooted in practice and living with a voice hearer for 21 years. Recovery from psychosis is possible for everyone, people can learn to understand their experience and move on. Karen has experience in working with families and believes real healing occurs when dialogue happens. Karen has co-authored the workbook, ‘Working to Recovery’ Based in Scotland, Karen is Director of ‘Working to Recovery Ltd'. She also has a Diploma in Practical Spirituality and Wellness and is a trained spiritual companion. This has led to her setting up Midwife of the Soul.

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About this course

This course will help you respond to the possible signs of mental distress effectively, humanistically, compassionately and in a recovery focused way. The course begins by looking at the principles of mental distress that will help you respond in the most recovery orientated way and to help you make the most informed decisions. The course then enhances this learning by looking at possible signs of mental distress. Building on this knowledge, the second part of the course takes a practical approach on how to respond effectively towards someone showing signs of mental distress, including, referral, active listening, respectful ways of enquiry, responding positively to disclosure and how to bring closure and sign-post the person.

By the end of the course you will have developed some skills, knowledge and more confidence in recognising and responding to people who are experiencing mental distress in an effective, humanistic and compassionate way.

The learning format/approach has been designed to meet all learning styles.  Learning formats include: documents, PowerPoints, videos, exercises/activities, additional reading and learning from each other through forums.

The course is split into Four Lessons - 

Lesson 1 - Introduction

In this lesson you will be introduced to the course and develop an understanding of mental distress, in order to begin to learn how to respond in the most recovery orientated way.  The Lesson will look at the underlying principles of distress.

Lesson 2 - Signs of Mental Distress

Following on from Lesson One, this lesson will allow you to explore possible signs of mental distress.  Despite mental distress being an inward experience, there are many outward reactions that can help us identify someone who is in distress.

Lesson 3 - At Referral

The first step of seeing someone, is at the point of referral.  The way someone is referred may colour how you see the person.  If also may colour how a person discloses information to you.  In this lesson, you will look at different types of referral and what needs to be thought about before seeing someone for the first time.

Lesson 4 - Responding to Mental Distress

In this lesson, you will look at how to respond to a person effectively, using 'Active Listening'; 'Respectful Ways of Enquiry'; 'Responding Positively to Disclosure'; 'Safe Closure and Sign-Posting to End of Disclosure'.


Learning Outcomes:

  • To explore what is meant by mental distress, the underlying principles and why someone may experience distress.
  • To examine the signs of mental distress, both inwardly and outwardly.
  • To think about ways to be with someone in distress that will help the person feel more at ease and more likely to disclose their distress.
  • To consider initial ways to respond to someone experiencing mental distress when first meeting them.
  • To explore how to respond to someone in distress in a recovery focused way.
  • To learn different listening techniques.
  • To develop confidence and knowledge in using active listening, respectful way or enquiry, responding positively to disclosure and sign-posting.