A growing body of knowledge and evidence based practice confirms that academic education for people with severe mental illness is a necessary part of their overall rehabilitation and successful recovery. This paper confirms that acute mental health inpatient settings can be places of learning and, with the right approach of experienced teaching staff, can offer a significant difference to young people’s lives, by creating a path to further education, meaningful life and recovery. Inpatient adolescents present a range of mental health issues such as mood, anxiety, psychosis, social, intellectual deficits and trauma are some of the frequent presenting problems.
A purposeful educational program seeks recovery, promotes educational acheivement alongside coping. This paper describes the process outcomes within an acute mental health impatient setting. The staff in this setting are experienced, focused, instill hope and support young people to develop their identity, role and purpose outside the parameters of their mental illness. For most adolscent inpatients during their short stay, the focus is also on return to community and assistance with further education and vocation. This focus is achieved through interdisciplinary collaboration, liaison with community educators and other stakeholders and through a variety of formal and informal community integration strategies.