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The challenge of having a loved one with a mental illness or substance abuse problem can feel overwhelming. Often, individuals with these disorders don’t recognize them as problematic or may believe that others are to blame for their problems. The search for answers regarding how to recognize and what to do in these situations is frequently confusing and exhausting. One family member described it as “the never-ending valley of fatigue.”
Approaches to engaging an individual in treatment depend on many factors. One factor that does not vary is dangerousness. If you ever believe that you or your loved one’s life or safety is in jeopardy, do not hesitate to seek help from an outside source. Contact a local emergency hotline or dial “911” for police assistance.
The staff at Belmont encourages you to take full advantage of your family, friends and natural support systems. We would also like you to know that there are many others who have or are going through the same struggles you are experiencing. Family support groups do much more than vent to each other. Through common experiences, they are able to share strategies of what has worked and what has not worked for them and offer encouragement and hope to each other. There are also classes available to you through mental health agencies where you can get information about symptoms, treatment and strategies for coping and taking care of you and your family during periods of stress.
Many people find that meeting individually with a mental health professional can also be helpful in resolving the many feelings of anxiety, guilt, anger and sadness that are normal and commonly experienced by family members and caretakers. Although your loved one is your first priority, you will not be able to provide that care if you do not take care of yourself, first. If your loved one is receiving treatment at Belmont, we encourage you to contact us. The information and background that families provide is invaluable. Staff at Belmont understand the importance of family support to our patients and wish to engage you in the treatment experience to the fullest extent possible.
You may also want to discuss preparing a Mental Health Declaration and Mental Health Power of Attorney with your loved one (find PDF forms below). These documents allow adults to consent to, or refuse, various treatments for mental health care in advance of their need for that treatment, in case their mental illness makes them incapable of making decisions at a later date. Through a Mental Health Powers of Attorney a person may appoint someone to make treatment decisions for them.
In addition, Belmont has established the Freda Kraftskow Sachs Family Resource Center located at Belmont Behavioral Health. This center has many resources that provide guidance and information about dealing with behavioral health issues.
Freda Krafskow Sachs Family Resource CenterBelmont Behavioral Health4200 Monument RoadPhiladelphia, PA 19131
For questions about the Freda Krafskow Sachs Family Resource Center, contact Nancy Beck at 215-581-3818.
Caregivers Books and ReadingsThere are many good books available that provide information and support for caregivers.
Family Support and Service Programs
Mental Health Advance Directive (File size: 198kB)This documents allows you to consent to, or refuse, various treatments for mental health care in advance of the need for that treatment.
The documents presented here require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software to view. Click on the icon to go to the Adobe Acrobat download page.
Mental Health Power of Attorney (File size: 296kB)Mental Health Power of Attorney enables a person to appoint someone to make treatment decisions for them.
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