MH45 Enable people with mental health needs to develop coping strategies


This standard covers working with individuals to recognise the impact of their behaviour on others and to jointly develop and evaluate strategies for changing behavioural responses where appropriate.

The standard is based on the concept of empowerment and supporting the individual as they develop strategies to cope with aspects of their behaviour which are inappropriate.

This standard applies to those who are responsible for supporting individuals who display inappropriate behavioural responses, supporting them, in a consistent manner, and promoting the motivation to develop and sustain alternative coping strategies. The standard is suitable for those working in general mental health service provision but may be particularly relevant for those practitioners working with detained clients, in forensic, prisons or in assertive outreach contexts.

Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies.

Version No 1

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:

  1. relevant legislation, codes of practice and guidelines and how these impact on your work in this area, including professional body standards and statutory provisions such as the mental health act
  2. how the legislative framework affects service provider policy and practices
  3. the data protection act and its implications for the recording and storing of information
  4. what the purpose and priorities are of the service provider and how these influence the kinds of support offered to individuals on behavioural matters
  5. how to communicate clearly and effectively
  6. the importance of working with both individuals and significant others if possible
  7. the importance of establishing an effective, professional working relationship with individuals and significant others when working on behaviour management issues
  8. why it is important to treat people with respect and consideration
  9. the types of behaviour you should adopt to show respect and consideration for individuals and significant others
  10. sources of information about what triggers different types of behaviour in different people
  11. how culture, gender and beliefs can affect what is perceived as ‘acceptable’ and ‘non-acceptable’ behaviour
  12. how your own culture, gender, beliefs and age affect the way that you view the behaviour of others and why it is important to recognise and accommodate this
  13. the factors that may influence an individual’s ability and willingness to value other people and relationships (e.g. illness, experience, the amount they are valued and value themselves)
  14. how to recognise when an individual is unwilling or unable to acknowledge their inappropriate behavioural responses, and when you should seek advice and support in dealing with such situations
  15. the reasons/possible factors for different sorts of behaviour, especially those which may be viewed as aggressive or abusive
  16. the possible effects the care setting and your own behaviour may have on individuals
  17. how to assess and manage risks to your own and others’ safety when dealing with issues of inappropriate/unacceptable behaviour
  18. the type of impact which an individual’s behaviour may have upon their quality of life and safety
  19. the types of information that it is appropriate to obtain from individuals and significant others
  20. how to obtain information from individuals and significant others
  21. the importance of recognising your own professional limitations and boundaries and identifying learning needs as required to meet the coping strategies of individuals
  22. from whom support should be sought if you are concerned about the behavioural responses of individuals or your ability to work with them to develop appropriate coping strategies, and the need for appropriate supervision
  23. why it is important to establish that the individual is willing to work with you to develop coping strategies
  24. how to foster a professional rapport with individuals and develop their motivation and a mutual enthusiasm for changing or managing their inappropriate behavioural responses
  25. how to promote behaviour which values others and encourages individuals to express their feelings in alternative ways (e.g. by becoming more assertive and less aggressive)
  26. how to work with individuals in ways which encourage them to act constructively and with respect towards others
  27. how to support others in developing and sustaining the motivation to develop and implement coping strategies
  28. aspects of a carer’s relationship with the individual that may help or hinder the achievement of positive goals
  29. the roles carers can play in helping to achieve positive outcomes for the individual
  30. the types of information that individuals and significant others will need if they are going to work towards agreed positive outcomes for the individual
  31. the types of support that individuals and significant others may need to achieve positive goals
  32. why it is important to review progress with individuals and/or significant others, as appropriate
  33. how to facilitate the participation of individuals and significant others, as appropriate, in the review process
  34. why it is important to evaluate the effectiveness of the coping strategies themselves as well as the individual’s ability to implement them effectively
  35. why it is important to evaluate negative as well as positive outcomes
  36. why it is important to acknowledge the contributions that significant others are making and how to do so
  37. the importance of keeping a record of work with individuals and significant others, documented according to policy and organisational codes of practice
  38. the importance of noting lessons for the future and how to identify these

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:

  1. gather and review relevant information about the individual’s background, circumstances, behaviour and needs
  2. provide opportunities for individuals and significant others to clarify, confirm and augment the information held about the individual’s needs and circumstances, in order to ensure that it provides a complete and up to date basis on which to discuss and explore behavioural responses
  3. encourage and support individuals and significant others to recognise the individual’s inappropriate behavioural responses to different situations and to consider the impact of their behaviour on others, themselves and their environment
  4. help individuals to recognise patterns and triggers which may lead to inappropriate behavioural responses
  5. work with individuals to help them identify and agree on ways in which they might change or manage their behaviour to achieve desired outcomes
  6. support individuals to identify and acknowledge factors which will motivate them to change or manage their behaviour
  7. seek additional advice and support where the individual is unwilling or unable to recognise, change or manage inappropriate behavioural responses.
  8. identify and agree jointly the behavioural responses that the individual is willing to change and the positive outcomes of changing these behaviours
  9. help the individual and significant others to identify the situations and circumstances which trigger the behavioural responses and ways of avoiding these from happening
  10. help the individual to explore ways of avoiding or coping with the situations and circumstances that trigger the behavioural responses when they occur, wherever practical
  11. identify and agree with the individual the coping strategies that s/he is willing and able to use
  12. provide individuals with the support and information they need to :
    1. develop and practise the agreed coping strategies
    2. develop and sustain their motivation to implement the coping strategies
  13. provide support to the individual in a manner which is likely to make them feel valued and respected and recognises progress made
  14. give information to the individual and significant others in a manner, and at a level and pace, appropriate to them and cover any practical difficulties which may occur, including how to get help
  15. keep an accurate record of what has been agreed with the individual in relation to developing coping strategies and the motivation to change or manage their behaviour.
  16. encourage and support everyone involved to fully participate in the review process
  17. conduct reviews at regular and appropriate intervals according to individual needs and the nature of the behavioural responses being influenced
  18. assist individuals and significant others to evaluate the effectiveness of the coping strategies in relation to:
    1. the individual’s ability to use them effectively when required
    2. their appropriateness for the situations in which they are used
    3. the positive outcomes achieved
    4. any negative outcomes experienced
    5. next steps/further goals
  19. acknowledge the progress made by the individual towards the development of effective coping strategies in a way that will reinforce their commitment
  20. agree changes to the coping strategies with the individual, where necessary, in the light of the review
  21. build on positive outcomes identified through the review process to facilitate the individual’s acknowledgement of, and motivation to deal with, inappropriate behavioural responses which they have previously been unwilling or unable to change or manage
  22. keep a record of what has and has not been achieved and identify any lessons for future work on the individual’s behavioural responses and coping strategies
  23. ensure that the results of the review process are communicated clearly to all those who have a right and need to receive them

Additional Information

This National Occupational Standard was developed by Skills for Health.  It also appears in the Health and Social Care suite of National Occupational Standards.

This standard links with the following dimension within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (October 2004):

Dimension: HWB4 Enablement to Address Health and Wellbeing Needs

This standard has replaced HSC396.
MH45 Enable people with mental health needs to develop coping strategies
Final version approved June 2010 © copyright Skills For Health
For competence management tools visit tools.skillsforhealth.org.uk