Frequently Asked Questions.

Who is the NiRA designed for?

This assessment tool has been developed for use in tertiary and community mental health settings with people who are recovering from a first episode of mental illness.
It has been designed for mental health clinicians from all professional backgrounds to use in collaboration with mental health service users. It is not intended to be completed by service users on their own.

Similarities will exist between the needs of people in this population, and people who are at risk of developing a mental illness, people who have experienced a chronic mental illness, and people who are recovering from physical illnesses. However, this tool may not accurately or appropriately capture these, and it is not recommended for use beyond the population for which it was developed.

When should the NiRA be used?

In the first instance, it is recommended that the NiRA is undertaken when acute symptoms of mental illness have subsided, and the service user is capable of engaging in a meaningful conversation for approximately 30 minutes. It can then be repeated as many times as is required over the coming weeks to months to early years after a first episode of mental illness. Needs are dynamic, and may change with altered circumstances, relationships, treatment plans and environments. The NiRA may be considered a useful tool whenever significant changes in the life of a service user occurs

Who should be ‘in the room’ at the time of assessment?

Mental health clinicians and service users may have different opinions regarding which needs require prioritisation. For this reason, it is recommended that any discussion regarding how to prioritise and meet needs is a collaborative effort. Sometimes family members may be involved in discussion around specific needs, or for the whole assessment. If this is to occur, it is vital that permission from the service user is sought prior to this occurring. A number of the questions in the NiRA are deeply personal, and the involvement of other parties without prior consent from the service user may undermine the process.

What about needs which are not included in the NiRA?

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure a broad array of needs are included in this assessment tool, there may be needs that people are experiencing that are not included. If these are identified by service users, it is important to acknowledge these, and to work towards a plan for how these may be addressed. The ‘Priorities and Planning’ page of the assessment tool can be used to document any needs not identified on the main assessment pages.


For more related documentation and material used in this project, head to the resources page

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