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Nancy Gingerich Supporting Family and Friends with Mental Illness.

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Presentation on theme: "Nancy Gingerich Supporting Family and Friends with Mental Illness."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nancy Gingerich Supporting Family and Friends with Mental Illness

2  Introduction  What is Mental Health?  Canadian Facts  Cause of Mental Illness  Onset  Depression, Anxiety, Self Harm and Suicidal Ideation  Protective Factors  Stigma  Recovery  Supporting Individuals/ Families  Resources

3  Interfaith Community Counselling Centre (ICCC), located in New Hamburg (Trinity Lutheran Church)  serving the needs of individuals, couples and families for over 25 years  a registered non-profit organization under the direction of an elected and volunteer Board of Directors  Involved in many communities

4  Mental Health refers to ongoing successful mental activity  This includes maintaining productive daily activities and maintaining fulfilling relationships with others  It also includes maintaining the abilities to adapt to change and cope with stress

5 Based on studies conducted by the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health:  One in 5 people in Ontario will experience a mental illness at some point in their life time  Mental illness affects people of all ages, in all kinds of jobs and at all income and educational levels  70% of mental health disorders have an onset during childhood

6  Many contributing factors lead to the diagnoses of a mental illness:  Genetic predisposition (Nature)  Experience and Environment (Nurture)  Societal factors: pressure to achieve, the increased “stress and busyness of life”

7  The symptoms of mental illness are a result of abnormal brain functioning  Mental illness is a brain disorder  It is rarely if ever caused by stress alone  Like physical illness, mental illness often requires some form of treatment

8  The result of poor parenting  The result of poor behavior  The result of personal weakness or bad attitude  The result of a deficit in personality  The result of bad spiritual intent  The result of poverty

9  Some of the illnesses which commonly begin during childhood and persist into adolescence include:  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)  Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  Autism Spectrum Disorders  Generalized Anxiety Disorder  Attachment Disorder

10  Illnesses that most often begin during adolescence include:  Major Depression  Schizophrenia  Bipolar Disorder  Eating Disorders  Specific Anxiety Disorders  Panic Disorder  Social Anxiety Disorder  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  Addictions

11  Affects both mind and body  Caused by multiple factors, including genetics and life experiences  Symptoms can include:  Sleeping disturbances  Eating disturbances  Feelings of sadness, loneliness, or guilt  Lowered concentration and motivation  Can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, education, employment, etc.

12  What are some emotions that family members and friends might experience when a loved one is struggling with depression?

13  It is normal to feel upset when a loved one is struggled with depression  Confused  Frustrated  Guilt  “Walking on eggshells”  Helpless

14  It is normal to feel upset when a loved one is struggled with depression  Confused  Frustrated  Guilt  “Walking on eggshells”  Helpless  Reminder - Oxygen Mask  Processing your own feelings with a support person or professional can help you cope and allow you to continue to support your loved one(s)

15  Everyone feels worry at some point but anxiety is excessive worry and unrealistic thought patterns that interfere with daily living  12 % of adults, 2x more women than men  1 in 8 children have anxiety: increase in children experiencing anxiety  Most common mental health disorder however highly treatable

16 Worry Anxiety  Does not interfere with job/school/social life  Feel that concerns are controllable  Specific cause  Brief periods  Usually not accompanied by physical symptoms  Interferes with job/school/social life  Feels that it is out of control  May be unsure of what caused it  Lasts a long time  Accompanied by physical symptoms  Very distressing

17  Self harm is direct, repetitive, and intentional injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions  Most common form is self-cutting but can also include burning, scratching, tearing, banging or hitting body parts, interference of wound healing, hair-pulling or ingestion of toxic substances or objects  Self harm is a behavior employed as a coping mechanism to deal with underlying mental health challenges and is not a disorder or condition itself

18  The motivations for self-harm vary and it may be used to fulfill a number of different functions.  Self-harm may be used as a coping mechanism with provides temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness or a sense of self- loathing or other mental traits such as low self-esteem or perfectionism. …..they feel the hurt on the outside instead of on the inside………but it is ineffective because it does not last……..and thus becomes repetitive  Some may use self-harm as a means to punish themselves for something they have done instead of changing their behavior

19 People who self injure usually go to great lengths to hide the behaviour. Red flags to be aware of are: Unexplained frequent injuries, such as cuts and burns Wearing long pants and long sleeves in warm weather Low self esteem Problems handling emotions Problems with relationships

20  Let the person know you care  Be patient and Listen - give the person space to tell you about how they are feeling  Be non-judgmental  Let them know there is help available to develop better ways of coping with their intense emotions  Connect them to professional help

21 Loss of interest in: appearance, socializing, relationships, work/school Wide mood swings and extreme outbursts Major personality change Expressions of helplessness/hopelessness (i.e. “I just can't take it anymore”, “it won’t matter soon”) Expressions of worthlessness and being a burden

22 High risk behaviour (i.e. alcohol/drug abuse, promiscuity) Preoccupation with thoughts of death Preparations for death, giving away valuables, calling to say goodbye Treatment of teens for psychiatric disorder (i.e. taking certain anti-depressant medication)

23  Be familiar with red flags  Take all mentions of suicide seriously  Let the person know that you care  Listen; give the person space to tell you about how they are feeling  Be non-judgmental

24  Don’t be afraid to ask if the person is thinking of hurting themselves  If they have a plan DON’T Leave them alone  Offer hope that there is help available  Connect suicidal person to professional help

25  Shock  Denial  Trying to fix the problems  Blame  Guilt - Can be a tendency to blame yourself  Others?

26  Early assessment and intervention  Family relationships  Healthy life style  Community involvement  Support network

27  When we negatively view someone as having a “weaker character”  Use of negative or cruel language to describe mental illness (i.e. make jokes)  Portrayal of people with mental illness in the media (violent, “crazy”, etc).

28  Lack of knowledge regarding the brain  Lack of knowledge about mental illness  The media ◦ Movies ◦ News stories that emphasize a person’s mental illness as a factor in crime  Behaviors, such as aggression, that are attributed to mental health disorders  Language used (“psycho”, “schizo”, etc)

29  Educate, educate, educate! Learning about mental health is essential  Open up and start speaking about it, allows for healing  Make it okay to seek help, especially for men, encourage others

30  Family and social support  Non medical or Medical Supplements  Life style changes, diet and exercise  Counselling  Community involvement  Spirituality/faith

31  Don’t minimize feelings  Speaking in soothing tones of voice may have a calming effect  Equip the individuals with the tools and resources  Do not enable or excuse behaviors – learn about it  Model self-help behaviors

32  Ask the family how you can help  Educate ourselves- challenge yourselves and others  Don’t work alone  Encourage the caregiver to take care of themselves first, so they can help each other  Any other suggestions?

33  In what ways will you take the time to take care of yourself this week (eg. taking a bath, spending time with friends)

34  Interest in Support Group for those supporting family or friends with mental illness

35  CMHA Grand River Branch  Individualized support (Outreach, Short-Term and Long- Term Intensive)  Mental wellness workshops and seminars  Family support services through the Family Mental Health Network  Peer support through the Self Help Alliance  Court support and services for youth in the criminal justice system  Contact:  Kitchener Office – or  Mobile Crisis Team : (24 hrs)

36  Front Door  Crisis services through crisis phone number and Mobile Crisis Services  For children, youth, and their families  Support and resources for parents whose child is experiencing mental illness  Walk-in single-session counselling for youth, parents and children  Contact:  Kitchener - Front Door (Mon -Fri 8:30-4:30)  Cambridge - Langs (Thurs 10 - to 5:30)

37  Interfaith Community Counselling Centre  Individualized high-quality counseling services  Parenting coaching and support  Work with clients of all age groups  Sliding-scale fees to make counseling accessible to everyone  Contact: 

38  Coxson, D., Agencies working to break the silence of suicide, New Hamburg Independent, July 29, 2010  Hampson, Sarah, Medical access still the key to stopping suicide, Globe and Mail, January 9, 2011  Canadian Mental Health Association,  Centre for Suicide Prevention,  Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council  Public Health Agency of Canada  National Institute of Mental Health  Understanding Mental Health and Mental Illness


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