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!