Managing the unique and specific needs of the individual to address the immediate requirements and work toward long-term success.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. At times, we can experience problems with our mental health due to life stressors, life events, a traumatic incident, or medical issues. When this happens, we can feel unsettled, scared and unsure of how to move forward. Therefore, the first step to healing, growing, and recovering is to reach out for help. Treatment and recovery are ongoing processes that happen over time and include a journey back to your best self.
Mental Health FAQs
- Take breaks. When something becomes too overwhelming, take a break from it. Walk away and engage in a different activity that is rejuvenating, such as exercise, a quick shower, walking or watching television.
- Practice mindfulness activities and gratitude. Engaging in spiritual or religious activities, volunteering or mediation can help with stress management.
- Do things that make you happy, such as swimming, painting, biking, etc.
- Exercise! Exercise releases endorphins, which flood the body with serotonin, making you happier and healthier.
- Gather a support system, such as family, friends, co-workers, significant others, anyone you trust and are comfortable with, and spend time talking and enjoying their company.
- Set time aside with no distractions to offer support. It is important to provide an open and non-judgemental space to listen. Keep questions open-ended and give the person time to answer.
- Let them share as much or as little as they want to, and let them lead the discussion at their own pace.
- Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about.
- Don’t try to diagnose or second guess their feelings. You probably aren’t a medical expert and, while you may be happy to talk and offer support, you aren’t a trained counselor.
- Talk about wellbeing and ways of de-stressing or practicing self-care, and ask if they find anything helpful. For example, exercising, having a healthy diet and getting a good night’s sleep can help protect mental health and sustain wellbeing.
- Listen carefully to what they tell you, offer them help-seeking professional support, and provide information on ways to do this.
- Know your limits, and if you believe the person is in immediate danger or they have injuries that need medical attention, you need to take action to make sure they are safe. Please call 1-800-273-8255, press one if the person is a veteran.
Many people think they can stop a drug or alcohol problem on their own. Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is not easy. Stopping drugs or drinking will probably be one of the hardest things you or your friend has ever done. It’s not a sign of weakness if you or they need professional help, as most people who try to kick a drug or alcohol problem need professional assistance or a treatment program to do so.
Stopping the use of any substance should be done in consultation with medical and addiction professionals. Following any medical detox program, counseling: individual or group, support groups, 12 Step programs or Smart Recovery help the addicted person learn healthy coping mechanisms without the substance, relapse prevention techniques, identification of triggers, and new coping skills.
Substance Use FAQs
- Attend support groups related to the specific substance that has been abused.
- Don’t attend places that you know will be risky. For example, if you are a recovering alcoholic, staying out of places like parties and bars is best.
- Build a support system of people who you know can support you.
- Healthily manage urges. Chewing gum, drawing and filling your mind with activities will help take those urges away.
- Find activities that make you feel good! Volunteering, teaching, helping others, etc., can make you feel better when dealing with substance issues.
- Educate Yourself: Get information about addictions and the disease process. In addition, find information about how it impacts family and friends. Knowledge is power, and it may help you understand more about yourself and your loved one. There are many resources for finding this information: SAMHSA.gov (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) has educational and informational resources.
- Get Support: When you have a loved one with an addiction problem, it can create a great deal of difficulty in your life. However, some groups can help you learn how to cope, provide resources and support the addict, including Al-Anon (focused on Alcohol addiction) and Nar-Anon (focused on drug addiction – prescription and illegal). Get Counseling: It may be helpful to get some individual counseling to assist yourself. The more you can manage, the better you will be able to help your loved one.
- Don’t Enable: It is difficult for family members when the disease takes hold. Often, family members have supported the person’s addiction without fully realizing that they were doing it. Don’t rescue the addict. Instead, let them experience the consequences of their disease. Don’t financially support the addict or their addiction.
- Have Realistic Expectations: Don’t preach or lecture to the addict. They are usually unable to hear what you are saying. Instead, continue to hold them accountable to expectations and offer help to direct them to the treatment they need. Don’t react with pity or anger.
- Take Care of Yourself: Focusing on your own life is the most important thing to assist the addict. If you are stressed out due to their issues and your own, it creates resentment and strain. It makes it difficult to want to help someone who has created so much difficulty in your life. By taking care of yourself through exercising, getting plenty of sleep, socializing, and getting support, you may be better able to help your loved ones when they are ready to accept the help.
- Remember that addiction is not a choice or a moral failing; it is a disease of the brain.
- Addiction is ultimately a condition that the individual must learn to manage; no one can take the fight on for the addict.
- Set boundaries and stand by them.
- Encourage the individual to seek help; this may include finding treatment resources for them.
- Find a treatment program or therapist who specializes in addiction counseling and get help. Loved ones of addicts need support too.
- Set an example for healthy living by giving up recreational drug and alcohol use.
- Be optimistic. A person struggling with drug or alcohol abuse will likely eventually seek help due to ongoing encouragement to do so. If they relapse, it is not a sign of failure; relapse is often part of the overall recovery process.
Many resources in the state of Arizona offer help, including community, government and military benefits. However, these systems can be complex and overwhelming to work through, especially when seeking a resolution to an immediate need. Be Connected uses a resource matching tool to help find the right information and resources that best fit your situation. Please call 866-429-8387 for additional assistance.
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