In SANE's COVID mental health series, Tanya talks about the pandemic's impact on people living with complex mental health issues. She shares her tips on how to care for ourselves and others.
What a start to 2020. As we all came together as a community and attempted to deal with the fallout of the bushfire crisis, none of us could have foreseen that there was another huge challenge looming on the horizon.
The COVID crisis is unprecedented. And it’s confusing and worrying for all of us – causing increased stress, anxiety and fear in many.
Caring for someone who has mental health and drug and alcohol issues is complex. It can be hard to tell what came first, the mental illness or the drug and alcohol issues.
Quite often, people turn to drugs as a way of coping with their symptoms. While this can mask the effect of their symptoms, if they stop using the drug their issues may return.
For example, using a particular drug may help someone cope with their persistent low mood, but if they stop using the drug this symptom of depression will return. This can be an overwhelming feeling and act as a trigger, tempting people to start using again – creating a merry-go-round of substance abuse.
Marg was there when her son Mark had his first episode of psychosis five years ago, and has been part of his support network ever since. Mark’s road to recovery has meant building a new life for himself, and supporting others impacted by mental health issues.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, here Marg and Mark share things they’ve learnt along the way, the importance of empathy and the need to support carers in their journeys too.
Sometimes the distress associated with psychosis can be less about hallucinations or delusions and more about loneliness, fear and loss of self. At the risk of sounding overly optimistic - something us care professionals are famous for - I'd like to share five steps that can help you help your loved one overcome fear and isolation.
What are the top tips for people starting their journey caring for a loved one living with mental illness?
SANE Australia spoke to Jo Buchannan, a woman with almost 40 years’ experience caring for her sister, nephew and son. We asked Jo to reflect on her experiences and list five tips that would have helped her younger self in her first year of caring. Here's what she said.
A common call to the SANE Helpline often goes like this:
‘I think my partner, daughter or son has borderline personality disorder (BPD) and I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around them. I love this person, but the situation can be so hurtful. How can I stay and support them, but protect myself as well?’
To help we asked one of our carers, 'Ace', to share his advice for living with and loving someone with BPD. We also asked SANE Help Centre Manager, Suzanne Leckie, to add SANE’s perspective on best practice for carers.
When a loved one is diagnosed with a mental illness, the automatic concern is for their wellbeing, treatment and recovery. This is a normal and natural response.
Yet many people fail to realise the process can change the family dynamic. Schedules and priorities may change, with time required for appointments, treatment and support.
The staff who answer the phones at mental health hotlines are at the coalface of the industry, working directly to help people in crisis.
SANE followed a typical day in our Help Centre, which offers 12,000 hours of free specialist support every year for people affected by complex mental illness.