Coaching for Mental Health: Ethical Dilemma or Ethical Development?

My Personal Motivation

Since 1993 I have been seeking holistic strategies that enable people to make positive and active contributions to the quality of their life and that of their community, working towards the “just and sustainable future” envisioned by Agenda 21 with its local and global commitments. My main areas of interest have been in grassroots community regeneration, environmental issues and mental and physical health. Appendix 7: My Experience

The UK Government faces its challenge to reduce the disparity between the rich and poor, and encourage active citizenship, by policies on Social Inclusion and Mental Health. These policies have resulted in initiatives such as Healthy Cities and Neighbourhood Renewal, attempting to address the lack of money, inadequate access to information and resources, fragmented community and individual support, loss of community identity and unemployment. ( Healthy communities make healthy people and healthy people make healthy communities.

Another possibly even more relevant area to address is the pervasive negative mindset both at individual and community level that shows up as apathy depression dependency and addiction. From my experience working in community and mental health, it appears that without support and challenge to change this negative state it becomes chronic and transferable, leading to increasing poverty, ill health and dependency on the State. Community regeneration projects depend on engaging local people – such projects soon recognise their need for community management training, self-development programmes and self help strategies if they are to succeed; the active citizenship education mentioned above.

People with mental health problems need extra confidence and courage to take advantage of this training. They need support that is tailored to the individual, consistent and encouraging. Recognising this led to my interest in life coaching with its dual focus on supporting personal development and challenging old habitual behaviour.

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