Starting your mental health recovery journey can be confusing and scary when you first start to reach out for help. Here's what to expect when you start treatment.
Working with a Provider
As you work on your recovery, providers can help you in many ways. They can help you to deal with current stresses, heal old traumas, make decisions about medication and develop treatment plans that reflect your goals. Choosing a mental health provider can be challenging, but make sure you match your needs with his or her experience and specialty to get the most out of your treatment.
While the majority of people with mental health conditions will likely not need to spend time in a hospital or treatment center, an individual may need to be hospitalized so that they can be closely monitored and accurately diagnosed, have their medications adjusted or stabilized, or be monitored during an acute episode when their mental illness temporarily worsens. Hospitalization may occur because someone decides it is the best decision for themselves, at the insistence of a family member or professional or as a result of an encounter with a first responder (EMT/paramedic, police officer, etc.).
Psychiatric Advance Directives
An advance directive is a written document that expresses your wishes in advance about what types of treatments, services and other assistance you want during a personal mental health crisis. A directive provides a clear statement of your medical treatment preferences and other wishes or instructions. You can also use it to grant legal decision-making authority to another person to be your advocate and agent until the crisis is over.
After A Diagnosis
After receiving a diagnosis of mental illness, it is common to experience a range of emotions. For some people, a diagnosis can be a relief in that they are finally able to put a name to a problem. For others, it can be a major blow. They may experience fear, anger, denial, shame or sadness, or they may wonder, "Why did this happen to me?" "How will this affect my life?" or "What will people think of me?"
Being told that you have a mental illness is not the end of the world, however. With help and support, you can recover and achieve your life's ambitions. Of course, you will face many challenges as you begin your treatment, but there is hope. Mental illnesses are manageable. And there are a number of things you can do for yourself after a diagnosis to cope with the news, keep up with your treatment, and support your own recovery.