This lesson will explore the following topics:

Mental illness can have a significant impact on an individual’s functioning. This lesson will acquaint students with the life care planning implications for individuals with mental illness and psychiatric disorders. Life care planners must be able to discern the influences that mental illness has on rehabilitation outcomes.

  •          Appreciate the different definitions of abnormal behavior and the difficulties in defining behaviors as abnormal
  •          Recognize the vocational difficulties faced by individuals with mental illness
  •          Understand the life care planning implications for individuals with psychological and psychiatric disorders
  •          Identify the symptoms and treatments of various mental illnesses
  •          Understand the impact that mental illness has on the individual’s functioning
  •          Understand the process of psychosocial adaptation to disability
  •          Describe the coping strategies used by individuals to cope with disability
  •          Be able to identify a child with mental health problems
  •          Understand the family-centered care management approach to life care planning
  •          Describe the components of mental health care management planning

Learning Activities

1. Listen to the following two (2) audio lectures:

In this audio lecture, Jim Rice, RhD, CLCP, provides students with a general introduction to psychological and psychiatric disorders. Goals of the lecture include discussing, reviewing and understanding the DSM-IV multiaxial system for classifying mental disorders; looking at the influence that physical illnesses have on emotional and mental disorders; and looking at the role that mental illness plays in the development, etiology and maintenance of physical and chronic illness. Click here for the PDF notes for the lecture.

In this lecture, Jim Rice, RhD, CLCP, reviews mental disorders, discusses how mental disorders are addressed in the life care plan, and provides the student with specific examples of when to include a mental disorder in a life care plan. Click here for the PDF notes for the lecture.

2.     Readings

In this chapter, the author provides an overview of major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia. For each diagnosis, the author describes the epidemiology and course of illness, the symptoms, the treatment, the vocational impact, and associated costs. Also, the author discusses life care planning implications for individuals with mental health disorders. She also provides a case example for review at the end of the chapter.

  • Read: Chapter 22  in Pediatric Life Care Planning and Case Management book, Second Edition, 2011, or Chapter 29: “Life Care Planning for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Disorders” in Pediatric Life Care Planning and Case Management 

Life care planning for children and adolescents with mental health disorders can be difficult for the life care planner who has little or no experience with this population. This chapter provides an overview of life care planning implications for children and adolescents with mental illnesses, as well as how to manage the illnesses. Platt and Wells also discuss how to develop a service plan for this population and describe several ways to create a family-centered system of care.

Photo credit: By Hendrike 11:08, 3 May 2006 (UTC) (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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