Caregivers Articles

Coping With A Mental Health Crisis: Using Effective Skills

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
crisis

Photo Credit: BartekAmbrozik

Crisis. What comes to mind when you hear this term? Do you think of natural disasters such as hurricanes, national health concerns like the Ebola virus, personal struggles such as a divorce or failed relationship, or perhaps something less dramatic but still emotionally draining such as failed expectations or loss of a good job. Whatever the stressor (a situation that outweighs your ability to cope with it), a crisis can be any of the above situations and be long-term or short-term. 

A crisis has been defined in multiple ways but most people define a crisis as a hazardous event that outweighs your ability to cope. Such a situation could include physical stressors (lack of sleep, poor nutrition, medication changes, or an illness), emotional/psychological stressors (anxiety, depression, worrying, cognitive distortions, etc.), and social/environmental stressors such as overcrowded living conditions, socioeconomic status, living in high crime or drug infested areas, lack of income, loss of a job, poor interpersonal relationships, lack of education, or no transportation. All of these things can become a  crisis because each individual is different and each individual’s ability to cope is also different. What might be a crisis to you might not be a crisis to someone else. This is why it is important to exercise empathy and compassion when someone is feeling as though they are in a crisis state.

A lot of people question whether a crisis is also an emergency. Believe it or not, an emergency is not necessarily a crisis but it can escalate into an emergency. An emergency is a life-threatening event that requires immediate attention, while a crisis is a state of disequilibrium or imbalance that might require emergency attention if the individual within the crisis needs help such as in the case of having suicidal thoughts, cutting, or threatening to kill someone. For example, a woman who is holding a gun to her head and threatening to take her life, is not in …


When Your Loved One Needs To Be Hospitalized

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

family photoHave you ever had to face the fact that perhaps your loved one or close friend needed to be hospitalized? Was their illness so bad and jeopardizing his or her safety that you considered discussing the need to have the person “sign themselves in?” If so, join the millions of other individuals and families who have had to face this very difficult and emotionally draining situation.


Understanding Distortions Of Thinking

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

ID-100182979When someone treats you with disdain and uses every verbal attack they can think to use on you, do you walk away thinking “this person hates me, they think I am completely worthless?” If you have never thought this way, would you? What about if your boss walked by you without smiling or greeting you after you just applied to another job? Would you think “he completely hates me?” If so, have you considered that perhaps you were engaging in a Cognitive Distortion?


Parenting: How Your Style Can Negatively Affect Mental Health

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
parenting

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Did you know that your parenting style can determine the emotional and psychological well-being of your child? Being the parent of a child has to be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. The only thing lacking from a parent child relationship is payroll. A child has so many needs, desires, and milestones to achieve in life. It’s the parent who bears the burden until the child becomes mature enough to seek out their own wishes in this life. But despite the challenges that come with parenting, it is also perhaps one of the most rewarding (most of the time) jobs in the world. 

Sadly, many parents are unaware of the power that they hold over their children. These types of parents lack the educational, emotional, and mental abilities to properly raise their children and equip them for the world. These parents not only lack skills and emotional intelligence, but also mental stability. Some parents who are detrimental to their children’s overall development also struggle with their own mental health problems and substance abuse/dependency. In such cases they are viewed by mental health professionals as victims themselves. Parents who are struggling with their own mental and emotional well-being cannot (and often times will not) cater to the needs of their children in the areas of academics, emotional well-being, psychological health, and social abilities. Children who are neglected and abused at the hands of unstable parents often end up in foster homes, residential treatment facilities, detention centers or juvenile jails, or incarcerated for long periods of time. Children who are victims of victims often become prostitutes, drug addicts, sociopaths, criminals, psychiatric patients, or emotional messes. As a result, it becomes absolutely necessary for mental health professionals, psychiatrists, social workers, probation officers, police, and others to get involved and remain involved. These families are often titled “dysfunctional families.” Where the dysfunction began is difficult to pinpoint because in some …


Personal Stories Week: The End & Thank You

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

heartFirstly, I would like to start by thanking the many families who participated in Personal Stories Week this year. So many asked to participate that I had to push some stories to August 2015. Your stories of bravery, triumph, struggle, pain, denial, hope, loss of hope, and perpetual challenges have not only inspired us, but perhaps has made us more grateful for the beautiful aspects of life that so many tend to take for granted.


Accepting Schizo-Affective Disorder: A Mother’s Most Difficult Challenge

Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Sharon picture 2Are you the parent of or know someone who is the parent of an adult child with schizophrenia or Schizoaffective disorder? How did you respond to that diagnosis? What if your son or daughter was a stellar student with gifted abilities and one day lost her hope for a bright future because of a chronic mental health condition? The stress and strain that you would feel might almost take all the life in your soul. In fact, it might cause you to question why. I’m sure Sharon (seen on the right) has been through this process many times in her life.


Protecting Yourself From Unethical Mental Health Settings

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

unethicalHave you ever been to a mental health agency where everything appeared to be disorganized, unethical, and perhaps even illegal? Did a loved one receive mediocre mental health services, inadequate services, or no help at all? If so, you are not alone.


A Mother and Her Son’s Struggle With Schizophrenia

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
Melanie J Photo

Melanie and her son, Thomas

Are you the parent of a child, adolescent, or adult child with severe mental illness? How do you feel right now? Tired? Lonely? Discouraged? Or even stronger? Some parents say that they are struggling every single day of their lives with the reality that their child, teen, or adult child is suffering from both their own illness and stigma. Other parents say they are not as discouraged as they were before they found out what their child actually struggled with. No matter how you have chosen to view your situation, I’m sure you can relate to Melanie Jimenez.


A Mother Faces Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis

Monday, August 18th, 2014

 

sonAre you a mother or father of a son with a mental health or behavioral disorder? How did you cope with the reality that your son would probably need your help and support for the rest of his life? For many parents, accepting an illness can feel like one of the worst things you’ll ever have to do. Many mothers have spoken to me about their struggle to not only accept but also to live with their child’s illness. It isn’t easy. It’s almost unimaginable. 


Personal Stories Week: Learning From Personal Experience

Friday, August 15th, 2014

son and mother

It’s that time of year again when I collaborate with a group of readers, writers, parents, twitter followers, friends, and colleagues to discuss, during 1 entire week, their experiences with mental illness. Their experiences could be personal or professional and focus on challenges, miracles, systemic difficulties, financial strain, failures of the system, and many more issues that parents, families, friends, caregivers, and professionals have experienced. Come join us.


Mental Health In A Failed American System

Check out Tamara Hill's
book, Mental Health In A Failed American System!

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