11h CPDSeminar

Mental Health Crisis - Practical Responses Seminar

Two-Day Seminar for Nurses, Midwives and Other Healthcare Professionals


13 - 14 Aug 2020
Hotel Ibis Brisbane
27 - 35 Turbot Street
Brisbane QLD4000

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Why Attend

Every year, an estimated one in five Australians will experience a mental health disorder, and some of them will go through a mental health crisis. These people will pass through the healthcare system and you may encounter them, even if you do not work in a mental health care setting. Will you be ready to respond to their health needs? Attend this seminar to make a difference in your practice. Learn about:

  • What is a mental health crisis?
  • How can we help someone deal with a panic attack?
  • What is the role of a crisis plan?
  • How can we respond to patients if their crisis involves a suicide risk?
  • Is there a difference between severe psychotic episodes and psychosis?
  • And much more...

Need for Program

Every year, many Australians experience a mental health crisis. A lot of them may present to healthcare professionals who do not have a mental health background and who may be under-equipped to respond. Because of this, there is a need for nurses and other healthcare professionals to identify and clearly understand mental health crises and to update their knowledge on the best way to manage a person with these conditions.

Purpose of Program

This program aims to provide nurses and other healthcare professionals with up-to-date education about mental illness that relates to mental health crises of different causes and presentations and how to respond to them.

Your Learning Outcomes

  1. Confidently perform mental health assessments
  2. Understand the different causes of mental health crises and outline the best way to respond to them using practical methods
  3. Develop therapeutic relationships when caring for those going through a mental health crisis
  4. Support carers of individuals going through a mental health crisis


Day One

8:30am - Registration and Refreshments


What Is a Mental Health Crisis?

In this introductory session, we will explore the definition of a mental health crisis. This will enable you to clearly understand the level of urgency in your response to care. It discusses:

  • What typical situations may lead to a mental health crisis?


Trauma: Unique Contributions to a Mental Health Crisis

Experiencing trauma can bring about challenges for mental health. This session will discuss how the individual experience of trauma may contribute to mental health crises. It includes:

  • PTSD
  • Those at risk of traumatic episodes (e.g. defence crew, indigenous populations)
  • Interventions for those with trauma-related mental health disorders
  • Complex post-traumatic stress disorder

10:30am - Morning Tea


Supporting Carers and the Role of Crisis Plans

Although most people with mental health conditions may not experience a crisis, in some individuals it may be an omnipresent threat. For families and carers, the possibility of a mental health crisis can weigh heavily on day-to-day life, creating anticipatory anxiety. Having a back-up plan is essential. This session looks at:

  • What is the role of health professionals in supporting carers in the community?
  • What is included in a crisis plan?


Domestic and Family Violence in the Context of an Acute Mental Health Crisis

People living with mental health issues have been stereotyped as being capable of violence against others, including domestic and family violence. In reality, they are more likely to have acts of violence committed against them. This session will discuss:

  • Is there any evidence to suggest that mental health disorders usually cause violent behaviour?
  • Why are people with mental health issues at a higher risk of becoming victims of violence?


If a Crisis Involves a Suicide Risk

Although there are often warning signs that a person is contemplating suicide, this is not always the case. In this interactive session, we will focus on:

  • The identification of those at impending risk
  • The care of a person who has just intentionally tried to take their own life and survived
  • Overcoming the taboos associated with talking about suicide

1:00pm - Lunch and Networking


Acute Mental Health Assessment in a Crisis

It is essential that all nurses are confident to deal with a mental health crisis in any health setting. This practical session looks at how to assess an acutely unwell person with a mental health disorder. It includes:

  • Should a physical assessment precede a mental health assessment?
  • What are the basic principles of mental health assessment tools?
  • Does an assessment vary according to the severity of the crisis?
  • How can we utilise mental health legislations in our assessment?

2:45pm - Afternoon Tea


Supporting Carers

Although most people with mental health conditions may not experience a crisis, in some individuals it may be an omnipresent threat. For families and carers, the possibility of a mental health crisis can weigh heavily on day-to-day life, creating anticipatory anxiety. Having a back-up plan is essential. This session looks at:

  • What is the role of health professionals in supporting carers in the community?
  • What is included in a crisis plan?
  • What is associative stigma, and how can we support carers experiencing this?

4:00pm - Close of Day One of Seminar

Day Two

9:00am - Commencement of Day Two


Prevention Is Better than Crisis

Although it is not always possible to predict when a person may experience a mental health crisis, an appropriate plan of care should assist in diverting such an episode. This session discusses different scenarios and describes strategies for prevention. It includes:

  • Patient engagement to promote adherence to treatment programs
  • Preventing ‘medication holidays’
  • Triggers, warning signs and systems
  • Responding to carers who observe changes in behaviour
  • Avoiding negative attitudes and limiting capacity to interact
  • The use of ‘advanced health directives’ when receiving involuntary assessment and treatment


Developing Therapeutic Relationships in a Time of Crisis

Effective communication is known to help in a time of crisis. Therapeutic communication that is appropriate to the situation can empower all involved to minimise any negative impacts from the incident onto the individual. In this highly interactive workshop session, you will learn how to build therapeutic relationship skills. It includes:

  • Interactive scenarios based on previous sessions
  • Active listening and asking the right questions

10:30am - Morning Tea


Fleeing from Your Mind: Dealing with Panic Attacks

Panic attacks manifest as a crisis because the brain initiates the fight and flight response. This session focuses on a common, but debilitating, phenomena of the mind. It discusses:

  • What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack?
  • What are the triggers and symptoms?
  • What are the long-term consequences of repeated panic attacks?
  • What are the best-evidenced approaches to panic attacks?


Crisis with Drug and Alcohol Use

The use of alcohol, street and other drugs can be a cause of mental health crises, as well as a symptom of an impending crisis. Even if a person is not known to have a diagnosis of substance use, these can complicate symptoms of mental health conditions. This session will look at:

  • What type of crisis can occur?
  • What is now known about ‘dual diagnosis’ and self-medication?
  • What approach can be taken to manage a crisis involving drugs and alcohol?
  • What are the strategies to prevent a crisis?

12:45pm - Lunch and Networking


Severe Psychotic Episodes

Heavy drug and alcohol misuse has the potential to cause severe psychotic episodes. This session will discuss a mental health disorder that has been stigmatised by society. It includes:

  • What are the symptoms of a severe psychotic episode?
  • Is there a difference between a severe psychotic episode and psychosis?
  • What are the available treatments for someone who goes through severe psychotic episodes?

2:45pm - Afternoon Tea and Coffee


Red Flags? Practical De-Escalation Techniques

Stopping smaller incidents from ‘blowing up’ is much more favourable than dealing with a critical incident. It is known that, aside from body language, what we say and, importantly, how we say things is what makes a difference between a violent situation escalating or being defused. This may ultimately be the difference between you being injured or staying safe. This helpful session will provide you with an opportunity to:

  • Identify subtle changes in behaviour that may be a warning sign of aggression
  • Role-play the following verbal communication strategies to defuse violence:
    • Words
    • Tone
    • Pitch
    • Pacing
  • Responding calmly with a trauma-informed approach

4:15pm - Close of Seminar and Evaluations

educator image

Karen-Ann Clarke

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a registered nurse and a specialised mental health nurse with 30 years’ experience of working with individuals and families impacted by the experience of mental illness. Using a feminist narrative methodology, her PhD research explored the way that women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Karen-Ann is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Teaching in excess of 900 undergraduate students each year, she is passionate about the value that immersive mental health simulation can bring to student’s learning and clinical skills and the way that it can safely bring to life theoretical concepts related to mental healthcare. Karen-Ann currently supervises a number of honours, masters and PhD students and is part of numerous research projects, involving visualisation and simulation, mental illness, suicide prevention and the inclusion of people with lived experience of mental illness into the teaching and learning space. Read More

Events in other locations

13 - 14 Aug 2020
Hotel Ibis Brisbane
27 - 35 Turbot Street
Brisbane, QLD, 4000
27 - 28 Aug 2020
Rydges Sydney Central
28 Albion Street
Surry Hills, NSW, 2010
12 - 13 Oct 2020
Oaks On Collins
480 Collins St
Melbourne, VIC, 3000