Self-management is a way how patients learn to manage their long-term serious mental health troubles. The patient may do spiritual rituals or use support groups or eating proper diet or doing regular exercise to get themselves to be better.  It also enables patients to lead full, active and more confident lives. Self-management also aims to help the patients develop useful skills and knowledge to help them cope with their problems and to gain control over their symptoms. More and more patient use self-management to control their mental problems.

Most patients undergo the NHS expert Patient Programme. Self-management training for patients is not available for a lot of places but charity-run trainings for people with bipolar disorder are available. Self-management has a positive impact on the mental well-being of patients. Studies have shown that it also boosts the patients’ self-esteem particularly for people with bipolar disorder. Self-management has also reduced suicidal thoughts in patients.

Skills for self-management

A lot of patients use self-management without even knowing it. Formal self-management skill are studied through intensive courses and are facilitated by people who have had experienced the same ordeal. There is a huge order for self-management training. The only limiting factor is that training for self-management is not widely available and that there are no courses for people who have schizophrenia.

But MDF, a bipolar organisation, facilitates courses for patients with bipolar disorder nationwide. These courses were based on proof that this treatment works well for those people suffering from bipolar disorder. Courses such as these are run by qualified trainers who have had the same illness. Patients join in the courses through their own will and the mental services are not usually informed who signs up. MDF will support all the participants all throughout the course. The courses were aimed to help the patients understand their mental condition and how this affects their lives. They are also taught to minimize or prevent their symptoms, if possible, to lessen its impact on their mental health. The courses are based on the idea that the patients know what is best for themselves.

Self-management courses

The participants are expected to learn the following in their training: 

  • Know what factors or triggers the crises in their life
  • Know the warning signs before the crises occurs
  • Know what preventive actions could be done
  • Know which coping mechanism works best for you during a crises
  • Join support groups or local groups of people who also suffer from the same disorder
  • Continue to build coping mechanism and incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle
  • Make an action strategy
  • Make an advance directive on how the patients wants to be treated if in the future, they cannot make the decisions for themselves.