World Mental Health Day: Understanding And Helping Someone With Mental Illness

For this year’s World Mental Health Day, World Health Organisation (WHO) is promoting the importance of support that family and caregivers can provide those suffering from mental health issues.

Who Is A Caregiver

Anyone who provides for or offers direct care to a patient or someone in need is a caregiver. It can be a family member, a friend, a neighbour, as well as a paid professional.

Types Of Support Offered By A Caregiver

There are various roles that a caregiver can take up, depending on whether it is a family member or a professional. Here are some of the main areas of care that are offered by a caregiver:

  • Emotional support as well as physical support to carry on daily activities
  • Cleaning, cooking, providing meals and helping with personal care
  • Making regular appointments as well as help the patient to visit the concerned medical professional and looking after their medication.
  • Managing finances and daily bills

Recognizing Mental Health Patterns

One of the biggest challenges in diagnosing and treating mental health issues on time is that the symptoms often go unnoticed, till it is too late. Also, many of its symptoms are often confused with personality trait disorders, which can lead to a misdiagnosis. Here are some of the most common symptoms of mental health disorder that you can spot:

  • Severe or regular mood swings
  • Sudden aloofness or feelings of detachment
  • Being sad for no reason at all and unable to get out of that feeling
  • Addicted to smoking, alcohol or substance

5 Things To Keep In Mind While Offering Support

If you are looking after someone with mental health issues, or if you are working together with a professional caregiver to look after a loved one, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. Each mental health patient and caregiver is special, and what works for someone may not work for you. The type of care as well as the way to handle the patient will depend on the patient’s mental and emotional health, as well as overall health.
  2. If you have hired the services of a professional caregiver, you can take them along with you for various doctor visits. This will help you both understand the way forward, and know what best help you can get at home, medically as well as emotionally.
  3. Make sure that you help the patient to be independent and do certain activities without any help.
  4. Whether you are caring alone or with a caregiver, make an emergency plan. Make sure to share all important contact numbers and landmark points with each other.
  5. Take breaks as and when needed, to help you rest and look after yourself. Unless you are rested and in good health, you cannot offer the required care. The same applies for a professional caregiver. Depending on the condition of the patient, if you need round-the-clock help you may want to go for a pair of caregivers working in shifts.

When To Seek A Professional Caregiver

You may be doing a wonderful job of taking care of your loved one, but sometimes, a professional caregiver can add that extra help that is required. You may want to think of going for a professional caregiver under the following circumstances:

  • If the patient requires assistance with daily physical activities, such as using the washroom, they may be uncomfortable doing the same with you. Being an outsider, a professional caregiver is a neutral person and can ease the discomfort.
  • It is possible that in addition to looking after the patient, you are also taking care of other responsibilities. A professional caregiver will help you take a break so that your health does not get impacted.
  • Professional caregivers are trained to pick up symptoms that may otherwise go unnoticed. Also, they can communicate with the patient in a way that will help to assess the severity of the condition. When that happens, the caregiver will inform you about the need to involve the doctor, thus improving chances of getting the right treatment at the right time.

Family members and professional caregivers often work hand-in-hand to provide the right support and care to patients suffering from any type of mental health condition. If you would like to consider the option of taking help from professional caregivers from Care24, do get in touch with us to book an appointment.

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