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Working with a Psychosocial Recovery Coach

When it comes to mental health challenges, recovery can be difficult – that’s where psychosocial recovery coaching comes in.

Introduced under the NDIS in 2020, this innovative service provides capacity building support for Australians living with psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and acquired brain injuries.

The Psychosocial Recovery Coaches (PRCs) at Enhanced Lifestyles are passionate about supporting customers to lead their own mental health recovery journeys. Our PRCs work with customers to identify important goals for their wellbeing and break down the necessary steps to achieve them. They also develop crisis plans, manage NDIS services, and review progress at regular intervals.

If you’re familiar with the NDIS, you might be thinking that having a PRC sounds similar to having a Support Coordinator, but there are actually many differences! You can read about them here.

We are often asked what a PRC’s job involves and how they support their customers. At its core, the success of the PRC service relies on the relationship that is built between the PRC and the customer. To help explain the relationship and its significance, we spoke to our PRCs and some of their customers!

Keep reading to hear from our PRCs and some of their customers to get a glimpse into the recovery journey from both perspectives.

A chat with a PRC

Question: What does a PRC do for customers?

At first, a PRC’s primary goal is to get to know the customer. We really focus on understanding their aspirations; it’s important to identify the opportunities to achieve them, but also the barriers that may prevent progress. This helps to devise a realistic and achievable plan that can create positive outcomes.

From there, the PRC helps the customer to find NDIS services that will help them achieve their goals; they also keep an eye on the plan budget to make sure that spending is on target. It’s not just about the NDIS though – PRCs support their customers to engage with mainstream services, healthcare professionals, community groups, hobbies, and activities that enhance their lives.

Over the course of the first few catchups with the customer, the PRC develops a plan for their recovery using their own lived or learn experiences. This includes developing a crisis plan that empowers the customer to get help if they are feeling very unwell.

All throughout the journey, the PRC is checking in with the customer to make sure they are happy with their services and being a listening ear for when things aren’t going so well.

Question: What does a PRC do if another NDIS service isn’t working for the customer?

For customers with anxiety-related disorders, some interactions can be stressful. It might be difficult for them to call their service provider and let them know that the service isn’t up to par, or to let them go entirely.

Fortunately, a PRC can sit with the customer while they have these difficult conversations, providing encouragement and keeping them on track with what they want to say. This approach is great for building capacity in a supportive, nurturing way. Alternatively, the customer can ask the PRC to have the conversation for them. This way, they are building trust with their PRC, who is advocating for good outcomes on their behalf. While the PRC can shoulder some of the load for the customer, the PRC will endeavour to ensure that the customer retains choice and control over the actions taken.

Question: How does a PRC make daily life less stressful for customers?

Everyday tasks can be especially draining for someone with a mental health condition. A PRC can accompany customers to appointments, help them to follow up on matters related to their NDIS plan or their goals, sort out issues with their plan or budget, and even go with them to activities or groups that they enjoy. Having a familiar, friendly face standing by for moral support can make a nerve-wracking experience much more comfortable – that’s what a PRC is for!

Question: What makes a PRC qualified to support someone with a psychological condition?

The PRCs here at Enhanced Lifestyles have lived and learned experience.

Lived experience means that we have encountered our own mental health challenges, so we know what it takes to overcome these; it also means that we can navigate the system to access the right supports. It’s useful because the customer benefits from our personal experiences and firsthand knowledge.

Learned experience refers to formal and informal qualifications that support our body of knowledge about mental health and psychological conditions. It helps us to understand how psychological conditions can be managed, but also the factors that can contribute to their development.

A chat with customers

Customers’ names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.

Question: How does your PRC help you day to day?

Jane: My PRC organises everything for me. This includes arranging a gardener, booking important appointments with an Occupational Therapist or Dietitian, and organising other medical appointments.

Lauren: My PRC has been liaising with support coordinators and service providers to organise my services and shifts. She’s also helped me apply for a Companion Card so I can take my Lifestyle Attendants with me to community events and helped me to apply for a Supported Residential Facility.

Kim: Providing emotional support through regular phone calls and home visits, and arranging Lifestyle Attendants that are well-suited to work with me. Also arranging and accompanying me to appointments with my psychiatrist and doctor.

Question: What has been the best thing about having a PRC?

Jane: My PRC helped me to understand the funding in my plan and how I can make it work for me. With her help, I have been able to use it to access the support that I want in life. Also, my PRC rings me every week to make sure I’m okay which has been a big help with my anxiety and depression.

Lauren: The best thing has been her availability to chat and be a listening ear. This has really helped me with my mental health and overcoming different challenges. I ring her once or twice a week.

Kim: It’s good to have someone that is trained in mental illness and knows strategies to guide me; this has helped me to effectively talk about everything going on in my life. Plus, they can help me to explore services and new opportunities, and help me to discover what my capabilities are. I’ve enjoyed forming a close working relationship with my PRC.

Question: What progress have you made towards your plan goals since you started working with a PRC?

Jane: My PRC helped me to establish health-related goals. As I have an eating disorder, she’s connected me with a Dietician and an Occupational Therapist to help me to reach this goal. I’m making great progress; I feel that I’m getting healthier each and every day with their advice and my PRC’s guidance.

Lauren: Managing my mental health has been an ongoing goal, and my PRC’s close support has helped me come a long way. She’s made herself available to help with things, like if I need to organise something or achieve a task. I’ve been fully supported every step of the way.

Kim: My one goal is to be mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. My PRC has organised for me to see a psychiatrist which has helped me in working towards this goal. When I become healthier, I want to get involved with volunteer work.

Question: What advice do you have for someone who has the right funding for a PRC but is on the fence about getting one?

Jane: If you have the funding, you should definitely do it. It’s there to support you in being healthy and enjoying life. The relationship I’ve formed with my PRC is so important to me.

Lauren: A PRC is worthwhile. The emotional support I’ve received has really helped me to become more confident. It makes me want to overcome challenges, particularly with mental health – we’re still working on it, but I feel that I’ve come a long way.

Kim: Definitely do it – you can’t do everything on your own. Having someone that is trained in mental health has made the world of difference to me.

We’d like to thank our customers for taking the time to chat with us and provide feedback on our Psychosocial Recovery Coaches. If you have the funding for a PRC and want to see if it’s the right fit for you, feel free to contact us here.

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