The rollout of vaccines for COVID-19 presents an opportunity to protect the health of individuals who have serious mental illness (SMI). There are many calls to action to prioritize this population and get them vaccinated.
Individuals who have SMI may have concerns, questions, or fears about the COVID-19 vaccines. They may feel hesitant about vaccines and even think the vaccine itself can cause the illness.
Mental health clinicians play a critical role in helping people understand and navigate health-related decisions. Much like other health-related questions, screens, or topics, you can use a shared decision-making approach to guide the talk. Especially with this population, it is important to present and discuss the risks, benefits, and alternatives. This helps individuals make informed decisions with evidence-based information.
You can use this guide from SMI Adviser to find simple tips for mental health clinicians on how to talk about the COVID-19 vaccines with individuals who have SMI. It includes practical, effective, motivational interviewing approaches to guide the discussion.