Tag: Mental illness

Overcoming Stigma and Accepting Help

Suffering from a mental health condition is hard.  Unfortunately, the stigma that is often associated with it can make it even harder.  Individuals with mental illnesses are often portrayed in movies and television as extremely dangerous, violent, or unstable which can result in misinformation to those around us.  Words like “crazy” and “psycho” are painful and perpetuate the unnecessary stigma.  Far too often this type of stigma serves as a barrier to reaching out for necessary support.
First, recognize that seeking help is not a sign of personal weakness.  Professional counseling provides support so that you don’t have to do it all alone.  Second, try to release the fear of being “labeled.”  Sometimes people are afraid to acknowledge having a condition that needs treatment.  However, identifying what’s wrong can provide relief and result in a specific treatment plan to reduce troubling symptoms.  If it’s determined that you are suffering from a mental health condition you may be hesitant to share this information with others.  Remember, judgment from others may be based on misinformation.  Sharing your diagnosis with those you trust may help educate those around you and help to reduce the overall stigma.
Some recent studies suggest the stigma associated with mental illness may be decreasing as evidenced by an increase in the public acceptance of antidepressants.  However, it’s important to remember that study after study shows that drug treatment is most effective when combined with talk therapy.  Medication can be helpful in treating the chemicals in our brains, but humans are made up of more than just chemicals.  We are emotional beings and often times our feelings and emotions demand our attention.
Overcoming stigma and accepting professional help can be challenging, but it may be just the thing to empower you to take back control of your life.

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5 Ways to Cope With a Loved One's Mental Illness

Discovering that a loved one is struggling with a mental illness can be very difficult to cope with.  Most families aren’t prepared for it.  At times it can be very physically and emotionally challenging.  Below are a few tips to help with coping.
1.  Educate Yourself –  Researching your loved one’s mental illness will help you to gain a better understanding of what he or she is experiencing.  That may allow you to offer better support to the loved one.  It can also help break down misconceptions like the idea that the loved one should be able to “just snap out of it.”
2.  Recognize Your Feelings – Many family members feel guilt or shame when they discover their loved one is dealing with mental illness.  While these feelings are common and should be recognized as such, it’s important for family members to know they didn’t cause the mental illness and they can’t cure it.
3.  Find Support -Many families who have a loved one with a mental illness share common experiences despite the specific diagnosis.  Attending a support group can help normalize some of the feelings and experiences as well as provide additional strategies to manage the loved one’s mental illness.  Unfortunately, it can be difficult for families to reach out for the support they need because of the stigma that can be attached to mental illness.  Don’t let that stop you.  Seek support from family, friends, religious leaders, support groups, and mental health professionals whenever necessary.
4.  Take Care of Yourself -You’ve probably heard it said that you can’t take care of others without first taking care of yourself.  There’s some truth in that.  If you’re physically and emotionally exhausted it makes it much harder to provide the support your loved one needs.  Make it a priority to take some time to yourself to recharge.
5. Get Involved – Talk with members of your loved one’s treatment team.  Give them another perspective than the one they receive from your loved one.  Ask the treatment team how you can be most helpful and what expectations you should have for your loved one.  You can also get involved by emailing local politicians and working towards improving the overall mental health system.

Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659

hope & restorationWhen the dark clouds of life roll in and settle over you, it’s important to have someone who can help you tap into your inner strength so that you can survive the storm.  At The Empowerment Group, that’s exactly what we do. We welcome you to explore the possibilities that are available to you. Restore a sense of balance and direction to your life. Whether through therapy, through Family Mediation, or through relationship counseling, we can help you find a path toward resolution and relief. Empowering your life! The Empowerment Group wants to help you bring balance, peace and happiness to your life even when the storms roll in and you feel all hope is gone. We can help:
  • Mediation
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