Mental illness is becoming more common in many countries in the US. Some relate the increased growth of mental illness to genetics, while many others state that it’s from lifestyle issues and age. Regardless of the reason, we must know how to prevent and care for people with these mental illnesses.
Mental health professionals have discovered more than 200 mental illnesses, and they are finding new ones every year. These mental illnesses are known to target a person’s functioning and overall perception of reality. At the same time, others are known to affect people’s moods and feelings. It’s considered quite dangerous because these illnesses can cause serious harm to those who have them.
Isolation, loneliness, and depression are all recipes for self-harm. In addition, social isolation can lead to obesity, and many other mental illnesses can lead to physical illnesses in the future. So how do you exactly stop this from happening?
Recognize and Understand Warning Signs
First, you should know some of the first warning signs of mental illness. Here are some general warning signs you should look out for:
- Social isolation
- Acting out of their known behavioral patterns
- Lashing out at inappropriate times
- Poor hygiene
- Lack of social support
- Stubbornness to get help
Among these warnings, the one that’s the hardest to altogether bypass is the person’s stubbornness to get help. Usually, people with mental health problems are in some denial. This denial is known to be one of the most neurotic defense mechanisms out there. People in the deep stages of denial can completely ignore the emotional and cognitive problems they are experiencing.
People who are in this deep stage of denial require intervention. This means getting them professional help. Some therapists can help you out with that. But if you don’t think that they can’t get the help they need right now, the best thing you can do is support them.
Be There for Them
Judging them or forcing treatment upon them will only worsen their situation. In some cases, you can be the last person to care for them. Your best option is to be on their side until they decide to get the help they need or when you’ve got the necessary resources to help them get professional help.
You can be there for them by listening to them without judgment. You can also ask them what can help them at the moment. There’s a massive chance that listening would be their answer. Next, to know more about their contact, you need to gauge whether if they’re isolated or not. Lastly, you’ll have to avoid confrontation.
Most people would think that confrontation is important if they want someone to get better. However, an ill-timed confrontation can lead to disaster. The person can become even more defensive and completely isolate themselves from the world. Leave the confrontation to the professionals.
Learn Psychological First Aid
If you know someone that experiences panic attacks, extreme depression, and self-harm, you’re going to need to know some psychological first aid. There are many courses on the Internet that should be able to teach you the different skills required to do this. However, there are certain fundamentals that you can learn today.
First and foremost, you’ll have to learn how to listen without judgment. This means listening to someone and putting your personal biases away. Secondly, you’ll need to teach them breathing exercises. The most common is inhaling for five seconds and exhaling afterward. There are other breathing exercises out there that can help in specific situations.
These two fundamentals can already be a great help in helping alleviate some mental issues occurring with your loved one.
Seniors are the most vulnerable to extreme cases of mental illness such as dementia. They usually require specialized care on top of your personal care for them.
When it comes to the elderly, your best choice is to get a professional to help them out. It’s highly recommended that seniors with mental illness get the in-home care they need. This is because some of them might require 24/7 monitoring, especially those who have dementia. Moreover, this specialized service will ensure that they will stay at home.
Seniors also need access to telehealth services. Telehealth is becoming more common among the elderly because it can provide the health services they need without leaving their homes. It’s an essential service this year while the pandemic is still in full force. It’ll protect them from the virus while also getting the checkups they need every week.
Mental health issues can be problematic when left unchecked. With the knowledge you’ve learned from this article, you can now help your loved ones with mental illnesses.