The monograph has been developed to inform several different audiences, recognising that understanding relapse prevention needs to be progressed from multiple perspectives. These diverse audiences are:

  • People of all ages who have experienced mental illness — It is hoped that this monograph will provide information to enable people who have experienced mental illness to understand the factors that may affect their risk of relapse so that they can more effectively self-manage their condition to maximise their wellbeing. These people also need information to enable them to negotiate the mental health care system to access all the services they require to prevent relapse. For some, it is also important to have information to enable them to advise and advocate for consumers, in general, and to be able to participate in ensuring the safety and quality of services by advising service providers, service planners and policy makers.

  • Families and carers — Families and carers also need information to understand relapse prevention and how they can provide effective support for consumers. They need to be aware of their role in self-management and also to be able to negotiate the mental health care system to obtain the services they and their family member require to prevent relapse and support recovery. Some family members and carers also need to be informed so as to be able to advise and advocate for carers, in general, and participate in ensuring the safety and quality of services by advising service providers, service planners and policy makers.

  • Primary care services, particularly general practitioners — Primary care providers, including general practitioners, have an essential role in relapse prevention. They need to be informed and supported in this role to ensure that effective relapse prevention is implemented for their clients/patients.

  • Case managers — Case managers also have a vital role in relapse prevention for many people who have been seriously affected by mental illness. Case managers need to be recognised and supported in this role and be able to ensure that relapse prevention plans are in place for their clients and that their clients receive all the services they require to maximise their recovery.

  • Providers of non-clinical support services — Providers of non-clinical support services need to have their essential role in relapse prevention recognised and supported. Psychosocial and psychiatric rehabilitation services need to be integrated within continuing care pathways, and be appropriately resourced to meet the level of population need.

  • Providers of clinical services — Providers of clinical services, both acute and non-acute, must begin to routinely implement relapse prevention planning for their clients/patients. This means ensuring that the care pathways, support services, communication systems and partnerships are in place to support continuing care through support for self-management, rehabilitation and recovery. Top of page

  • Service managers, workforce planners, policy makers — The management, planning and policy-making systems that are necessary to support implementation of relapse prevention need to ensure that the procedures, workforce skills, infrastructure, policy and funding frameworks are put in place to enable relapse prevention to be routinely and effectively incorporated within continuity of care.

  • Whole community — Community education is required so that all members of the community understand the impact of everyday actions, particularly stigma, on the wellbeing of people who have experience mental illness and their families.