CANSAS Conversations

Coffeeby Peter Farrugia

Coffee tastes better with recovery

How many times do you hear a mental health support worker use a coffee date as a suitable means of support for people with mental health issues? It’s a lovely idea. It gets people out of their homes. It reduces their isolation. It helps people become accustomed to social interaction. But when it’s over, what happens then? Does the person wait a day for you to return? A week, perhaps?

Whenever we engage with people as a means of mental health support, we could ask ourselves one question. How did my engagement contribute to that person’s long-term recovery?

A simple way to achieve this is by participating in the CANSAS conversation.

The CANSAS conversation is a method of engaging people to consider various aspects of their life. It is an holistic approach to self-review. It provides opportunity for people to identify the areas they would like our support. It enables people to direct their own recovery and provides workers with a structured, focused approach to mental health recovery.

From the needs identified during the CANSAS conversation, we support people to develop their individual recovery plan. From that plan, we can engage in targeted follow-up planning and actions, leading to fine-tuned support and self-evaluation.
That way, next time you enjoy a coffee date, you can focus conversation around the areas that are important to that person. In other words, contribute to their long-term recovery.

Goals, plans, hopes or dreams. Whichever way, coffee tastes better with recovery.

What is the CANSAS conversation?

The CANSAS conversation is a fresh way to view the Camberwell Assessment of Need Short Appraisal Schedule, or CANSAS. It describes the process in a less formal, less clinical manner and emphasises a comfortable, friendly approach for engaging with consumers.

Everyone likes a chat. The CANSAS conversation captures the essence of how people like to interact and enables consumers to identify issues in their life they would like to address.

It ensures the conversation is person-centred and the process is consumer-led. This way, support workers can guide a conversation that is truly recovery focused. What better way to establish a supportive and mutual relationship! The conversation remains structured, with particular outcomes in mind. The delivery is paramount to achieving positive results.

Have your staff attended a CANSAS conversation workshop? We come to you!

By now, staff are familiar with the Camberwell Assessment of Need Short Appraisal Schedule, or CANSAS. It was developed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Britain. All of RichmondPRA uses the CANSAS to support people using our services.
But have you heard about the fabulous CANSAS conversation workshop? It is a 4 hour workshop, created and facilitated by RichmondPRA’s peer workers, designed to demonstrate good practice when engaging people in the CANSAS.

Presented in a manner which reinforces recovery and support, the CANSAS conversation workshop is suitable for new staff, as well as those more experienced in mental health support. The workshop is relevant to front-line workers and managers alike.

Peter Farrugia, RichmondPRA’s Manager Peer Workforce, was the driving force behind the development of the workshop.

“Hearing from staff about the difficulties they face in encouraging people to participate spurred me to re-think the way we view the CANSAS.”

It wasn’t just staff experiencing difficulties. People who access our services were also reluctant to engage.

“Through talking to people, it was clear that most of them weren’t entirely comfortable with the assessment,” said Peter. “So, together with peer workers, we set about re-inventing the way we view and use CANSAS.”

So far, over 170 RichmondPRA staff have participated in the CANSAS conversation workshop.

“We have traveled to Caboolture, Hervey Bay, Parkes, Wagga Wagga, Temora, Griffith, Queanbeyan, Goulburn and Tamworth, as well as trained teams in Five Dock and Surry Hills. The response has been overwhelming,” said Peter.

RichmondPRA’s peer workforce is currently facilitating workshops on how best to engage in the CANSAS conversation.
To book a workshop in your neighbourhood, contact Peter Farrugia, RichmondPRA’s Manager Peer Workforce, on:

What are people saying about the CANSAS conversation workshop?

“The role playing was great. It helped me to understand easier.”

“The entire workshop was fun, interactive and informative.”

“It gave me a lot of ideas for further training with my team.”

“It cleared a lot of things up for me.”

“It was fun and easy for me to follow.”

“The resources are really great.”

“I was surprised to see how easily it can be adapted to suit all clients.”

“It is very relevant to my work and has given me tips on how to ask the harder questions.”

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