Caring for Someone with Mental Distress

a girl giving emotional support to her friend

Mental distress, or psychological distress, is a term used to describe a range of symptoms and signs of a person’s internal life, that are generally held to be disquieting, confusing or out of the ordinary. Mental distress can potentially lead to a change of behaviour, affect a person’s emotions in a negative way and also affect their relationships with the people around them. Certain traumatic life events, such as penalties, stress, lack of sleep, use of medicines or alcohol, assault, abuse, or accidents, can induce internal distress. This may be a commodity which resolves without further medical intervention, though people who endure similar symptoms longer term are more likely to be diagnosed with internal illness.

Nature of Personal Experience

Since everyone gets distressed at different times, some internal health interpreters prefer the term mental distress in describing their experience as they feel it more captures that sense of the unique and particular nature of their experience. There is a lot of difference between mental distress and mental disorder. Mental distress has a wider compass than the affiliated term mental illness. A person in mental distress exhibits broader symptoms described in psychiatry, without actually being ill in a medical sense. They may also parade symptoms on a daily basis as well.

Also Read: From Job Loss to Mental Distress: Unemployment Impacts on Mental Health

Support Networks

Every one of us has a family member or loved one affected by internal distress. Like any other health problem, someone with a internal illness needs love and support. Support from family and musketeers is a pivotal part of helping someone who is living with mental illness. This support provides a good emotional help to an individual. These networks can be made up of parents, children, siblings, consorts or mates. Minding for anyone living with illness can be gruelling.

Tips to support someone living with mental illness

  • First of all, one should learn about the illness and its signs and symptoms. Also, learn about how treatments work so that you know what side effects and improvements you may see.
  • Encouraging treatment of the illness. Offer to help make those first movables with a croaker to find out what’s wrong or accompany the person to the croaker.
  • Don’t think like you know what the person needs. Rather, ask how you can help. Hear precisely the response.
  • Also, give emotional support. We can play an important part in helping someone who’s not feeling well.
  • Although ultimate responsibility lies with a person who’s living with an individual having a mental illness, we can play an active role in supporting or guiding them.

Also Read: Psychologist too suffer mental stress while handling distress & hardship cases

Families and mental health care

Families and friends can be important advocates to help people with mental distress. They can help them to get through the hard stages of life. Nowadays, Psychiatrists, Psychologists and other Mental Health Professionals are recommending treatment and guidance programmes for individuals with mental distress. When someone is helping a person with mental disorders, it is important to remember that it is extremely important for him/her to take care of herself. The family caregiver plays multiple roles in the care of persons with mental illness, including taking day-to-day care, supervising medications, taking the patient to the hospital and looking after the financial needs. The family caregiver also has to bear with the behavioural disturbances in the case. Therefore, the caregiver gets considerable stress and burden and needs help in managing it.

They develop different kinds of managing strategies to deal with the burden. An unhealthy management style negatively affects the caregiving function. It is important to take care of the requirements of the caregivers. They should be given full support and guidance.

Caregiver Challenges

They bear with the behavioural disturbances and sometimes they can be a target of the patient’s abusive and violent behaviour. They have to dock on their social and rest conditioning as well. The non-stop stress of caregiving may negatively affect the physical and mental health of caregivers.
There may occur burnout and emotional exhaustion. They feel isolated from the society. Some caregivers may need to look after further than one case in the family. Utmost caregivers take up the caring part in the absence of any significant knowledge about the illness. They must get the knowledge of managing strategies as to how can they manage mental distress. The managing strategies can be astronomically grouped into two groups:

  • Emotion-concentrated strategies aim to diminish the negative emotional impact of the stressor and include avoidance and denial.
  • Problem-concentrated managing refers to direct conduct, which existent undertakes to change the situation. These include problem-working or seeking social support to resolve the stress of caregiving.

Also Read: The Mental Health of Prison Professionals

Providing guidance to people with Mental Distress

It is very important to provide guidance on coping mechanisms to caregivers for tackling the burden because it affects caregivers day to day functioning. The burden is a constant source of stress, and how the caregivers manage it, affects the course of illness. The burden and the managing styles also impact the physical and internal health of the caregiver and hence their further efficacy. Caregiver’s positive evaluation of their managing strategies is associated with reduced distress situations and positive station towards the case. Problem-working managing has been reported to be associated with better functioning.

Family’s Role and Advocating For Change

It is not only the patient but the whole family that faces the problem and stress. Caregivers generally feel that society does not sympathize with them and lacks limitations and problems. They should get regular guidance from the experts. It is essential for mental health professionals to identify the burden on individuals suffering from mental distress. They need to take timely care of the needs of the caregivers and provide necessary support and interventions. This would help the individuals with mental distress to deal effectively with the burden and also improve their caregiving capability.

Also, mentally distressed individuals should be given guidance on information related to mental illness, management of problem behaviours and want to be involved in treatment decisions. Family-grounded interventions have proven efficacy in reducing relapse rates and the negative impact of psychosis on caregivers. The American Psychiatric Association also recommend family interventions for families in contact with cases. The psychoeducation sessions also help people facing mental distress. A number of new initiatives have taken place in our country to bring changes towards the welfare of mentally distressed people. NGOs have been working, providing community support to such people. There is more need to spread awareness about mental distress among people.

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