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Living & Loving With Serious Mental Illness

Posted Feb 17 2010 3:51am
  1. Show compassion. Being diagnosed with a mental illness can be scary and confusing. Some people are relieved by a diagnosis and actively seek treatment; others may be devastated, ashamed or in denial.
  2. Encourage your loved one to learn about treatments and services. Remind them that finding the right treatment or services takes time and involves some trial and error.
  3. Practice “active listening.” Listen and then express your understanding back. Acknowledge his/her feelings. Don’t discount them, even if you believe them to be symptoms of the illness.
  4. Understand medication challenges. Side effects often make people want to stop taking their medicine. Urge them to take their meds and talk to the doctor about making adjustments.
  5. Know that recovery isn’t just about staying on medication. Self-esteem, social support and contributing to society are essential elements of recovery.
  6. Learn to cope with unusual behavior. People with mental illnesses are sometimes disruptive or behave in an embarrassing way. If this happens, tell a responsible party, like a parent or doctor. This information can lead to more effective treatment.
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