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Learning theories for staff education homeless individuals with mental illness Essay Example

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Helping Homeless Individuals with Mental Illness

The constant increase in the number of homeless individuals with mental illness has been one of the key issues of concern in the City Of Melbourne. This particular issue has compelled the management of the city to propose various initiatives of dealing with the issue. One of the proposed initiatives that the management should implement is to educate the staff of St Vincents hospital, which has rehabilitation and mental health departments, on helping homeless individuals with mental illness. According to SANE Australia (2012), mental illness is a key health problem among the homeless individuals in Melbourne City. In fact, every year, very many homeless individuals with mental illness are taken to undergo rehabilitation at St Vincents hospital in Melbourne. However, a major impediment is that the members of staff at the hospital lack proper skills on how to help homeless individuals with mental illness (SANE Australia, 2012). The management of Melbourne City must therefore adopt a learning program that will educate the staff of St Vincents hospital on how to help homeless individuals with mental illness. The management must recognize the fact that providing housing alone does not change the prognosis of homelessness for individuals with mental illness. Instead, psychological rehabilitation services, peer support, vocational training, and daily life skill training are important components for reducing homelessness and improving the living standard of individuals with mental illness. Adopting a learning program is therefore an ideal initiative of dealing with the issue. The program will provide the staff of St Vincents hospital with important skills on supporting the homeless individuals with mental illness.

The staff of St Vincents hospital would benefit a lot from the learning program that seeks to sensitize them on how to take care of individuals with mental illnesses. This is because the program is designed to provide an extensive overview of what encompasses mental illness, the connection between homelessness and mental illness, as well as the possible alternatives for treating this condition. The learning programs is multiprofessional in that it takes into consideration the local needs of practices and primary care organization, develops leadership abilities among nurses thus allowing the integration of experience and knowledge to the staff. It also teaches important mental health skills and crosses the primary care interface thus promoting integration between services (Rayner, 2013). The program has been developed based on the consideration that an effective rehabilitation of individuals with mental illness needs coordination of a multiplicity of services, which requires high level of attention to basic principles of management for cost-efficient and effective service provision. It is guided by a coherent set of standards that ensure a comprehensive rehabilitation of homeless individuals with mental illness.

The program is based on three key learning style theories: Kolb’s learning style theory, Gagne’s theory, and Baldwin & Ford’s theory. Kolb’s learning style theory mainly concentrates on the internal cognitive process of the learners (McLeod, 2013). This theory suggests that different individuals prefer different style of learning, and these preferences are influenced by various factors such as education, social environment, and the cognitive framework of an individual (McLeod, 2013). The learning program also utilizes Gagne’s learning style theory, which suggests that all learning can be divided into several different types, ranging from the relatively simple, such as making simple responses, to the relatively complex, such as problem solving and concept learning (Happell, Cowin, & Roper, 2013). In other words, this theory suggests that there are several levels of learning and each of these levels requires unique kinds of instructions. Another learning style theory that the learning program utilizes is the Baldwin & ford’s theory, which is founded on the idea that the transfer of learning from the trainer to the learners depends on the inputs of training that include the characteristics of learners, learning environment, and design of the learning program (Dudovskiy, 2014). The most important thing associated with this theory is that the learning outcome is influenced directly by the work environment and characteristics of the learners, but the impact of design of the learning program depends on the levels of learning outcome such as retention (Scott, 2010). Utilizing this theory in the design of the learning program is important because it presents a framework for assessing the significance of every input factor in learning and identifies and makes use of the potentials for enhancing the significance of aspects related to every individual factor.


Dudovskiy, D. 2014. Baldwin and Ford’s Transfer of Training Model. Retrieved from


Happell, B., Cowin, L., Cox, L. & Roper, C. 2013. Introducing Mental Health Nursing: A

service user-oriented approach. Melbourne: Allen & Unwin.

McLeod, S. A. 2013. Kolb — Learning Styles. Retrieved from


Rayner, Stephen G. 2013.»Problematising style differences theory and professional learning in

educational psychology». The Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist.

30 (1): 13–35.

Scott, C. 2010. “The enduring appeal of learning styles». Australian Journal of Education. 54

(1): 5–17.

SANE Australia. 2012. Fact Sheet 5: Mental Illness and Violence. South Melbourne, VIC:

SANE Australia.