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Having a Care Team is Important when Living with a Mental Illness

Sometimes, it feels like I spend half my life living inside my head with my own dark thoughts. At times like that, it is easy to become overly reliant on the people in my life to rescue me from my own fear. But the truth is, the people we love most don't always have the emotional space to care for us in the way that we need if we are mentally ill.

This is why there are mental health professionals who make themselves available to those of us who are suffering. These are people who dedicate their lives to improving the lives of others. Through their study of the mental health field, they learn how to stop themselves from becoming enmeshed in the problems of others.

Specialized skills that professionals can provide allow them to be a good sounding board for our worries and dark thoughts. This is why it is so important to find a good care team if you have a mental health issue yourself. When I was living overseas, this is something that I sorely missed, and I became overly reliant on my partner to help me cope with my mental health.

The value of wrap around services

In the mental health field, having a responsive care team for your mental health is what is called providing wrap around services. Your care team can consist of different types of professionals such as:

  • Therapist

  • Psychiatrist

  • Primary care doctor

  • Social worker

  • Case manager

  • Life coach

  • Peer support counselor

  • Support group

When you are able to find a team of professionals to support you with your mental health, this can improve not only your own problems, but your relationships as well. This is because you aren't constantly venting your frustrations on the people that you love, and expecting them to carry you through life.

In therapy, you can learn coping skills to take care of your own mental health, and to face life's challenges head on. This can help you to be more mentally strong and self reliant.

Wraparound is an intensive mental health program that is a child-focused, family-centered, strengths-based, and needs-driven planning process. This process provides access to an array of comprehensive mental health services. Wraparound is a team-based, collaborative process for helping children and youth with special mental health needs. Families learn to identify and use their strengths and community resources to address their individual needs. The Wraparound model is based on 10 principles designed to maintain children and youth in their home and community. The 10 Wraparound principles include: family voice and choice, team-based, natural supports, collaboration, community-based, culturally competent, individualized, strengths-based, persistence, and outcome-based. The Wraparound process brings together a team of people to work with your family. Typical teams include designated agency staff members as well as relatives, friends, neighbors, and/or church members, etc.

When you participate in a program that offers wrap around services, they can help you in different aspects of your life where you are struggling. In addition to providing traditional mental health services, you may be connected to additional resources for assistance with jobs, housing, food assistance, medical insurance and more.

Participating in this type of care allows you to feel less isolated, as can often be the case when you are struggling with your mental health. By becoming involved with a team that can support your mental health needs, as well as other needs in your life, you know that there are people who will support you any time that you need it.

According to Case Worthy, there are 7 Principles of Care for High-Fidelity Wraparound Services:

  1. Family Voice and Choice

  2. Collaboration and Assembly of a Natural, Community-Based Team

  3. Culturally Competent

  4. Individualized

  5. Strengths-Based

  6. Unconditional

  7. Outcome-Based

A lot of times, those of us with mental health needs can feel like we are either "too much" or "not enough" depending on our circumstances and the people around us. When you tap into wrap around services, you will begin to see that you aren't deserving of blame or shame that is so often a part of your daily life. By finding strengths that you can develop, you will find a greater sense of self efficacy that is important for healing.

Finding care

Especially in the US healthcare system, finding mental healthcare to meet your needs can be difficult. Much of the responsibility for finding health is placed on you, and the search can be difficult. You can find a respite in community mental health, or by reaching out to a crisis care line or suicide hotline for referrals that will meet your needs.

If you are facing a mental health crisis or thinking about suicide, you can always reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988.

You don't have to struggle alone in silence. There are people out there who are willing to help you 24/7.

Recently, I checked myself into a 5 day program at a local crisis stabilization unit. There was a team of professionals available on a daily basis to provide support. Some of the services I received there were:

  • Group therapy

  • Individual therapy

  • Medication

  • Case management

In addition, there was a nurse and two counselors available 24/7 in our unit to help anyone who was in need of support. Having someone available to talk any time I needed it was super helpful, and helped me to work on bettering my mindset, developing coping skills, and finding a new perspective on what seemed like a hopeless situation.

No matter how dark things seem in your life, there is always hope. There are always people available to support you.

If you are struggling, you can do an online search for a crisis care center in your local area. You can have immediate access to someone who is a professional to talk to. This can be a breath of fresh air when you feel like life is just a long struggle alone through the darkness.

When I was in the crisis unit, the case manager also got me referrals for appointments with a therapist, psychiatrist and case manager. This was great, so I could have help available when I was going home. They also called the next day after my release to check up on me and make sure I was doing alright. Also, they told me if I need to be inpatient again, I can go back any time I want to and I will be welcome there.

Knowing that there are caring people out there in the world has made a huge impact for me. If you are struggling in a dark place yourself, please know that help is just one phone call away.


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