Caring for someone with a mental health disorder

Caring for someone with mental health issue brings with it unique challenges. Mental health issue  vary greatly in severity and causes. Mild issue  are common and the person can be helped through understanding and support. Severe depression, are less common and pose more challenges.

Communication can be a struggle for many people with a mental health disorder. Few people don’t have the motivation to communicate, while others lack the confidence to say what they really want. Few  people experience hallucinations, which can affect how and when they communicate. To help the person you care for, keep on communicating with them on a continuous basis and give them enough time to make themselves heard and let them know that you accept them and their disorder. Often, people with mental health problems feel cut off from other people, including family, friends and neighbours. It’s important to listen to what they’ve got to say and to let them express themselves without interrupting or offering your opinion. Encourage and reassure them if they get upset or appear to be struggling with their emotions. If you care for someone who present to have a mental health problem, they may not have sought medical advice or they may be struggling to get a specific diagnosis. Do not diagnose mental health problems yourself for the patient. A mental health diagnosis will usually be made by a psychiatrist with inputs from other healthcare professionals. To ignore this problem, try to get the consent of the person you care for to discuss their care needs as early as possible after their diagnosis. This consent should be made clear on any care plans or documentation relating to their care, and any changes to this consent should be clearly noted. Mental healthcare professionals may not be able to share certain personal details about the mental health of the person you care for, but this doesn’t mean that they should not listen to your perspective.