Families for Depression Awareness
- keeping them safe
- getting them care to get well; and
- preventing suicides.
Sometimes people are in a state of mind that prevents them from making sound decisions. There are mental states (e.g., experiencing psychosis) and physical conditions (e.g., effects from a stroke) that can adversely affect a person’s usual good judgment. We agree with DBSA and others that, ideally, a person with a mental health condition will engage family members and friends as partners in wellness and in crisis. There will be a written plan and the legal documents necessary to ensure that care is pursued and provided according to the individual’s wishes as expressed when he or she was well. Mental health practitioners can make sure that families get information about this and should strongly encourage patients to bring a family member to at least the first appointment.
In our experience, all too often these conversations and pre-planning have not occurred, and the family member must navigate the complex medical, insurance, and legal systems to get emergency care for their loved one.
Family members are frequently excluded from mental health care decisions, despite being the ones who often have the most pertinent knowledge and the greatest motivation to get someone the care they need to get well.