where to get help for mental illness

Where to get help for mental illness?

Some periods of life can be more complicated than others. To get through these times, it may be necessary to seek outside help. The process is not easy, but it is definitely worth it. Asking for help helps you understand what is going on and find solutions faster.

There are many misconceptions about mental health. It can lead to hiding your worries and isolating yourself. Some people fear asking for help because of the shame that often surrounds mental health problems. They may believe that by asking for help, they are admitting that something is wrong—some worry about how others might perceive them.

In these conditions, asking for help is sometimes complicated. However, even in the event of temporary difficulties, it may be essential to seek support. It is not a sign of weakness. If you are willing to seek help, it means you want to make changes or move towards your new health goals. 

On the contrary, taking the step means trying to understand your problems and find solutions. We should recognize the courage it takes to speak out and change as getting help is part of recovery.

Recovery can mean many different things. 

Some people see it as a return to their daily life before the signs of a health problem. Others see it as learning to live well, building relationships, and giving to a community regardless of the challenge of a health problem. 

Recovery is a development or journey rather than a single end goal. A family member, a doctor or can help you on your journey because no one should ever have to walk their journey on their own. A team of care and service specialists can guide, help, and advise you, celebrate your victories, and support you as needed.

It is fundamental to seek help as soon as the need arises. The faster it is requested, the quicker you can find solutions.

Sometimes we do not ask for help for fear that the care will be too expensive. Solutions exist for people on a tight budget. Talk about it at the first consultation in order to find an arrangement. 

Here’s who you can turn to for help.

1. The entourage.

It is a relief to talk about your worries and worries to a family member, friend, or larger person around you. Moreover, it can also bring new perspectives and solutions that you haven’t thought of yet.

The person in whom we confide can, for example, advise to consult a professional (family doctor, etc.) or give the address of an association. If you wish, she can help you with your administrative procedures or accompany you to your first consultation.

2. Family doctor.

Your family doctor will evaluate your needs, rule out other causes, work with you, and monitor your progress. You can access certain services, such as psychiatry if your family doctor refers you to a specialist.

3. Professionals.

Many professionals around you can be of great help. In case of difficulties or psychological distress, they can welcome you, listen, and refer you to a specialist:

  • At work: company doctor, employee or union representative;
  • In health centers: nurse, midwife, doctor;
  • At school: school nurse, teacher or mediator;
  • In neighborhood leisure centers: animator or social worker.

They are all reference persons who can guide you towards adequate help. Do not show reluctance to ask them for advice. It is part of their job to educate you on the available possibilities.

In most cases, this assistance is free or paid for by health insurance. So the cost shouldn’t stop you from using it.

If in doubt and if you do not know who to contact, your family doctor can refer you to the right person.

4. Mental health associations.

Private and public organizations offer numerous services in each region. Their offers are divided into three types of services for people affected by their mental health and relatives:

  • A welcome offer. The associations offer places of reception and informal or accompanied meetings (sharing a coffee or a meal, recreational outing, etc.). These activities are self-managed or supervised by professionals in the psycho-social field.
  • Activities. These are leisure activities, socio-cultural activities, or personal development. They also offer training activities of all types and work positions in sheltered workshops or the open economy.
  • Psycho-social support. Organizations can offer psycho-social, administrative, and legal counseling services to support, advice, and assist people in their procedures and questions.

Various supervised activities, such as support groups, allow you to share your daily experience and feelings on different subjects.

These aids are free or require a modest contribution, often in the form of an annual membership fee. You will find this information from the chosen association.

5. Mental health specialists.

In the psychiatry field, there are different offers to help improve mental health and quality of life. Each canton has various services. You can find the addresses here.

  • Consultation with a psychiatrist.

Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in psychiatry and hold the title of specialists in psychiatry and psychotherapy. They offer psychotherapy sessions to listen and seek solutions to psychological difficulties. They can also prescribe medication, psychotropic, or others. Consultations and prescriptions are compensated by health insurance.

  • Consultation with a psychotherapist psychologist.

Sessions with a psychotherapist psychologist allow you to talk about your problems and look for solutions. Psychotherapist psychologists are mental health specialists trained in different methods and therapeutic approaches. 

Treatment is reimbursed by health insurance, provided that a psychiatrist delegates the treatment. It happens that specific supplementary insurances directly reimburse treatments carried out by psychotherapist psychologists.

  • Outpatient or inpatient treatment and follow-up in a psychiatric institution.

Outpatient services and day centers offer comprehensive psychiatric treatment with the advantage of being able to go home. They generally provide medical care and social assistance (finding accommodation, work support, financial advice, home visits, etc.).

Psychiatric institutions increasingly favor outpatient treatment (no hospital stay) to allow continuity with family and professional life. Support costs are reimbursed by health insurance.

Sometimes hospitalization can be the best way out. Hospital costs are covered by health insurance as well. 

  • Other mental health professionals.

Many mental health professionals can help you in your recovery process and support your goals. 

If you are seeing a health care provider, that person may suggest that you team up with other mental health professionals (nurse, social worker, occupational therapist). 

You may also have access to these people under a private plan. As your provincial or territorial health plan may not cover some fees, inquire about costs and coverage available when you make an appointment.

6. Support groups and peer helpers.

Support groups are a secure place to share your experiences, learn from others, and connect with people who understand what you are going through. Some support groups are formal groups led by a mental health professional, and others are more informal peer groups.

Peer helpers get training to provide support and understanding, to help people navigate the mental health system, to bridge people and community services, and to support steps towards achieving personal goals. These are people who have already experienced a mental illness or supported a loved one.

Respect your limits and seek help if needed!

We all have our own limitations. If you don’t respect your own, you risk harming your health, which would not help the person with the disease. Be aware of your limits.

If necessary, seek information and support from helpful resources immediately.

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