Easy read resources on mental health services in NSW

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3DN, with support from the NSW Ministry of Health, has developed a series of Easy Read resources about accessing and navigating mental health services available in NSW. They are for people with intellectual disability and those who prefer simple written information. Find out more about these resources and how to use them.

Find out more

People with intellectual disability can experience difficulties with communication. This can prevent them from finding and understanding information about mental health services and accessing and participating in mental health care.

Accessible information is needed to assist people with intellectual disability to participate and make decisions about their mental health care to promote the best health outcomes.

Scoping work identified gaps in the availability of easy read versions of key documents within NSW mental health services. Mental health service representatives provided their views on what easy read documents were required.

Following consultation with people with intellectual disability and their families and support persons, and using a co-design approach, 3DN has developed a series of easy read mental health information sheets.

  • Easy read materials adapt standard information into a briefer copy, which contains only the main points of information as well as pictures to assist with comprehension.
  • For people with intellectual disability, the provision of easy read information is recognised as an important form of accessibility (Scope 2007, 2008).
  • People with intellectual disability.
  • People with other cognitive and communication disorders.
  • People who may temporarily have difficulty comprehending standard information (e.g. those experiencing a mental health crisis/experiencing significant distress).
  • Others who may prefer simple written information.
  • The resources are designed for health professionals to use with individuals. While some people may prefer to be provided with the resources to read on their own, others will need support to understand the information. A Toolkit is also available with more detailed information on supporting people to use easy read.
  • The Mental Health Act and Statements of Rights resources summarise the official documents to support their comprehension. However, they do not replace the official documents which should also be provided where indicated.
  • There is a word list of the less familiar words that appear in the resources with easy read definitions. This list can be provided to individuals to support their understanding of the information.
  • The majority of these resources are PDFs and are intended for use in their current form. Consent would be required to modify the resources. The ‘Introduction to inpatient mental health services’ resources are provided as Word documents so that services can modify these resources to suit their needs. More information is provided below and in this document.
  • Authorship details are provided on the last page of each PDF document; authors should be acknowledged when citing the resources.
  • Prof Karen Fisher, Social Policy Research Centre UNSW Sydney for her initial conceptualisation, assistance with design, and review of the resources.
  • Dr Ariella Meltzer, Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Sydney for her initial conceptualisation and review of the resources.
  • The Council for Intellectual Disability for facilitating the co-design process to develop the resources.
  • The NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service for translating the Arabic, Simplified Chinese, and Vietnamese versions.
  • All stakeholders who took part in the scoping study.
  • The Mental Health Branch, NSW Ministry of Health for funding the project.

For more information about these resources contact Claire Eagleson at c.eagleson@unsw.edu.au

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