Are you trying to help a loved one who suffers from mental illness? Millions of Americans are in this position, loving, caring and hurting alongside someone with such an illness.
As a lawyer, I work with mentally ill individuals regularly. I see the endless referrals to psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists. No easy solutions exist, and family members’ struggle can seem never ending. It can be a roller coaster ride. Sort of like life itself.
Many of the professionals who treat mental illness are wonderful, caring individuals. They understand the problems; they put together comprehensive plans to address them. These plans often involve prescription medications. However, there are limits to what you might call “scientific” or “medical” approaches to these problems.
No plan can be effective unless it is carried out consistently over time. The taking of medication is a thorny problem. This can be ground zero for disputes over patient rights. Unless observed or compelled, many people forget to take their medications or refuse to do so, citing bad side effects. Others persist in believing they do not need medication. These are painful situations for loved ones trying to help.
When I can, I urge people to look for other means of help. I want to help people find a tool that can ease suffering and sometimes lead to solutions. There is always a Hope Line somewhere. A grassroots organization called NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has helped many people.
Sometimes a “spiritual” approach can produce positive changes, where nothing else seems to work. This does not mean abandoning professional, therapeutic approaches. It means hitting a problem from multiple angles.
God has worked miracles with countless alcoholics and addicts, healing lives and providing a means to recovery. Likewise, God can bring new hope, power and light to mentally ill persons and their care providers. I have seen it happen. Life takes on new meaning as people find new ways of living and a sense of purpose.
Do you have a story or suggestion that can help people dealing with challenges like these? I would love to hear from you. Send me a comment!
5/29/2019 01:43:35 pm
This is truly amazing. Thank you for writing this!
5/29/2019 03:59:48 pm
I’m always glad to see professionals trying to serve this population and their families. We need every bit of help out there. It absolutely is a lifelong struggle for all of the family members. I am the caregiver for my 25 year old dependent daughter who has a combination of medical/neurological and mental health issues. She is adamant that medication is evil that does only harm and no good and would rather vomit unintentionally daily than take the meds that have repeatedly helped her with numerous problems. I found some help attending a parental program through NAMI as well as support group meetings, but the approaches she likes best are Reiki therapy, her ABA therapist, and immersing herself in cartoons and Disney show or songs highlighting similar struggles or emotions as she experiences. It makes her feel less alone and gives her hope of the positive outcome the characters experienced. Also we’ve set up conservatorship and special needs trusts to help support her in years ahead. A lifelong difficult struggle hits the nail on the head.
10/14/2020 01:10:42 pm
No one talks about the mental health struggle, which is rapidly growing in the world. So thank you for taking time to touch on this subject and allowing people to have a second to think about the true struggle of mental illness.
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