This article discusses an introductory process to look at mental health and mediation. Most mediators believe in trying to use the mediation procedure in as many circumstances as possible. As mediations are done in schools, prisons, and courts, it would also be helpful to utilize the process to aid individuals with mental health issues. But it’s not expected of these mediators to be very well versed in the mental health field, or in understanding emotional, mental, and behavioral effects of mental health diseases in the midst of a mediation process.
As if things haven’t gone worse, each individual with a mental health issue also has their own behavioral patterns, habits, and effects that the mental health has had on them. So whether it’s stress, psychosis, anxiety, or depression, these will manifest in various ways for different kinds of people.
How Is Mediation Helpful?
People have different responses, needs, and reactions. So how can we guarantee that mediation is something that a mentally ill individual can benefit from? Perhaps we can avoid making an assessment of the person with the mental health condition and instead try doing an assessment of the person’s capacity to use the mediation process. This is what most mediators that have handled mental health issues typically do. They would identify the person’s mental capabilities and competencies that are necessary to get an opportunity for a productive mediation.
Here are some mental capacities that are required for a successful mediation, as collected from several mediators.
- The capacity to have two different opinions at the same time.
- The capacity to visualize a different future than the one that is foreseen in the present.
- The capacity to be a truly empathic individual.
- The capacity to be aware and to admit if he or she does not understand the mediation process.
- The capacity to understand that the mediator is not supposed to judge or do the job of the police officer but rather he acts as a facilitator.
- The capacity to understand and accept the end result of the choices he or she makes.
How Can This Be Assessed?
Individuals with a mental health condition are offered these capacities before the mediation process and then they invite them to contemplate on mediation preparedness. They could have a discussion on this topic with their doctors, therapists, or managers and provide feedback to the mediators before the process even begins. For instance, if someone is diagnosed with anxiety, he may have some of the mentioned capacities but is having difficulty understanding the whole mediation process. Consequently, the mediator will need assistance with this issue and needs to settle this before or during the mediation.
As more and more mediators get into working in the field of mental health, they think of it as an art instead of a science. They begin to think about it as something that has no assurances. Besides professional and personal security, there are no permanent rules when one is trying to be empathetic with an individual who is experiencing a panic attack or to attempt to pacify someone who is thinking of ending his life. Just when you think you have found the perfect solution for a certain situation and you try to use it on another person, you realize that there are yet other very different strategies that you have learned that works on that person but wasn’t effective on the other.
Like modalities and other therapeutic techniques, mediation also is a versatile process that works differently for different people in the mental health area. The only permanent thing that works beautifully for everyone is the mediator’s (or anyone’s) desire to help. If the desire is there, there is always an opportunity to help someone deal with their conflicts and troubles in a more positive and productive manner.