Building A Mental Health Support Network

Millions of people around the world struggle with mental illness, and it is common to feel alone.  Such isolation could be due to the symptoms of mental illness itself, and also the harsh stigma that is associated with mental health issues. A mental health support network can help diminish the isolation that struggling individuals may feel.  


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What Is A Mental Health Network?

A mental health support network is a group of people who each provide a unique role in ensuring that a person with a mental health condition has their emotional and physical needs addressed. It is important that responsible and well-trained individuals are chosen. 

Who Can Be In A Mental Health Network?

A mental health network can be a mix of counselors and other mental health professionals, medical doctors, and loved ones. Each individual can have a designated role to play that is tailored to their level of education, experience, and knowledge of the person’s mental health condition. Since mental health professionals have more understanding of the way that a mental illness affects a person’s actions and thoughts, they can help ensure that the right therapies are used. Medical doctors are needed to prescribe medications and order and review any tests that have to be performed. A person’s loved ones can help by making sure patients get to their doctor’s appointments, eat a healthy diet, stay active, and have someone to talk to when they feel down or overwhelmed.

Why Is It Important To Establish A Mental Health Network?

It is important to have a support group because some types of mental health issues can have an impact on a person’s memory, ability to concentrate, and energy levels. This can make it difficult for individuals to take their medications, perform hygiene tasks, attend doctors appointments, or even go to work or school. It can be especially difficult to find the time and motivation to socialize with others.  

What Types Of Mental Health Issues Could Benefit From A Support Network?

People who have anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, or substance use disorders, just to name a few, can benefit the most from a support group. These conditions can feel isolating, and additional support can help make treatment more accessible and effective. A support network can act as a reminder of why treatment is important, why treatment needs to be initiated, and why treatment needs to be continued. An example of this can be seen by looking at the way that a condition, like depression, affects a person’s thinking. By causing feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem, it makes it difficult for someone to see the importance of going to the doctor or trying new therapies that might alleviate their symptoms.

What About Social Support?

Social support is helpful because of its role in helping a person with a mental illness know that there are others who are going through many of the same issues as them. One potential source of mental health social support is group therapy, where patients can talk openly about their experiences and struggles.  Other times, social support may come from role models, mentors, colleagues, friends, and family members.  The most important thing is to find individuals who are compassionate, non judgmental, and willing to help.

How Can You Communicate With Your Mental Health Support Network?

While it may not be easy to talk about a mental illness to a loved one, it is a helpful step in gathering the support that one may need. Some conversations may involve letting your support system know what symptoms you are experiencing, what treatments are working, and what side effects you may be having. Other times, you may just need a place to openly speak about whatever may be on your mind, without fear of judgment.  

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder and needing additional support, the Mental Health Collective, based in Orange County, California, is here to help.

Do you have a question? Send our team a message or give us a call 888.717.9355

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