Considerations for working with individuals with mental health difficulties
1. Sensitivity with questions is incredibly important, as some which may seem like they may not be offensive, to someone coping with the illness could see it that way and this could cause them unnecessary distress.
2. Not to make them feel like they are being interrogated, the questions need to be open, allow for them to elaborate or change answers, let them be as comfortable as they want.
3. Be aware that some questions could be triggering for some people, especially individuals who have experienced issues surrounding self harm etc, questioning them on these kind of issues and finding out about their reasons for this may trigger them into restarting the acts as they are being reminded why they did it in the first place.
4. These illnesses are never exactly the same in every person, variations of conditions, and conditions being combined with others is highly likely, questions and research must allow for these individual differences.
5. People shouldn’t feel like they have to answer any question, if they choose not to answer a question that should be allowed, if they choose so they shouldn’t even have to answer any questions and can describe their story without any questions at all if that is how they feel most comfortable.
6. The individuals should be fully aware of why these questions are being asked, how they are being used and be prepared for people not wanting some things to be used, including their own voice which may involve re-recording over their answer in a sound booth.
7. Accept peoples answers, do not disagree with what people say, this is their own experiences and highly subjective data, there are no wrong answers. They cant be wrong when speaking about what is going on with themselves.
8. Encourage dont force when they are speaking, if they make a mistake encourage them to continue but let them know they have the option to restart if they would rather, gentle encouragement all the way through will make them feel more comfortable with what they are saying, how they are saying it and how it is coming across.