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FAQ: Mental Illness

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This FAQ provides prepared by NAMI PA, Main Line offers general information, links to helpful documents, and specific resources for people in the Philadelphia area.

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FAQ: Mental Illness

  1. 1. Frequently Asked Questions Prepared by NAMI PA, Main Line –April, 2014 (available at http://namipamainline.org) This FAQ provides general information, links to helpful documents, and specific resources for people in the Philadelphia area. For additional FAQ in video format, go to http://www.namiswpa.org/content/index.php and click on NAMIpedia. Another helpful FAQ is available at http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Frequently_Asked_Questions. For additional information, e-mail us at info@NAMIPAMainLine.org or contact your local NAMI affiliate (http://www.NAMI.org). 1. What should I do if I or someone I know is having a mental health crisis? 2. What help is available for children and adolescents with mental illness and their families? 3. How can someone with mental illness get government services such as health insurance, mental health treatment, and income support? 4. How can I find a mental health provider? 5. How can an adult with mental illness find housing? 6. How can an adult with mental illness find social opportunities or a support group? 7. How can a family member of someone with mental illness find information, resources, help and/or support? 8. What can I do if my loved one with mental illness refuses treatment? 9. What can I do if my loved one with mental illness has been arrested or is behaving in ways which may result in arrest? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. What should I do if I or someone I know is having a mental health crisis? If there is an immediate danger of physical harm, call 911. Otherwise, it may be preferable to call the crisis line for your county. These crisis lines provide access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to staff who are specifically trained for dealing with mental health crises. This may reduce the risk that a mental health crisis will result in an arrest. For crisis line numbers in the Philadelphia area, go to http://namipamainline.org/crisis-numbers/. If you are outside the Philadelphia area, you can call a national hotline (800-273-8255) to be referred to the closest crisis center. Additional advice on coping with a crisis is available at http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/get-help/respond-in-a-crisis. Advice on preparing for
  2. 2. an emergency is available at http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/get-help/be-prepared-for- an-emergency. To help prevent a crisis, we recommend:  Call your local warm line (e.g. see Philadelphia area warm lines listed at http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/intro-to-services/ ).  Read about strategies to improve communication and help prevent a crisis at http://www.nami.org/Content/Microsites124/NAMI_PA,_Main_Line/Home115/Info_on_Me ntal_Illness_and_Coping/listeningwell.pdf and http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/take- a-course/what-you-learn/ or view http://greatdanefilm.dk/web/Janssen- cilag/npa2011_13012011/amadore_interview.html .  Take a course such as Family-to-Family (http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Family-to-Family&lstid=605 ), Mental Health First Aid (http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/ ) or LEAP (http://www.leapinstitute.org/ ). 2. What help is available for children and adolescents with mental illness and their families? Mental illness in children and adolescents can have different symptoms and require different treatment than mental illness in adults, so it is advisable to seek out professionals who have expertise with children or adolescents. Multiple aspects of mental illness in children and teenagers and treatment are discussed in video format at http://www.namiswpa.org/content/index.php (click on Namipedia and then Mental Illness in Children and Teenagers). Additional information on mental illness in children and adolescents, diagnosis, treatment, and school issues, as well as access to discussion groups are available at http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=child_and_teen_support. Many affiliates of NAMI offer Basics, an education and support program for parents of children and adolescents with mental illness or serious behavioral issues (http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=NAMI_Basics1). Information about resources in the Philadelphia area, including behavioral health providers, schooling, and relevant organizations is available at http://namipamainline.org/info- resources/intro-to-services/ and http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/resource-guide/. 3. How can someone with mental illness get government services such as health insurance, mental health treatment, and income support? Many individuals with severe mental illness will find it necessary, or at least helpful, to apply for some or all of the following publicly supported services:  disability income from the Social Security Administration  Medicaid and/or Medicare health insurance which is available to disabled individuals  community mental health services provided by each county, including case management which can provide access to housing and many other services. For information about eligibility and application procedures for these programs, go to http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/how-to-get-services/ . NAMI National offers additional information, helpful advice, and suggestions of organizations that can represent people who are applying for SSDI (available at http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Social_Security_and_Disability_Benefits.htm).
  3. 3. 4. How can I find a mental health provider? Two resources that provide general advice about choosing and working with a mental health care provider, as well as suggestions for finding a mental health professional, are "Mental Health Professionals: Who They Are and How to Find One" (http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Mental_Health_Professionals_Who_Th ey_Are_and_How_to_Find_One.htm) and "Choosing the Right Mental Health Professional" (http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/info-on-mental-illness-coping/). For information about behavioral health providers in the Philadelphia area, go to http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/intro-to-services/. For additional information, contact your local NAMI affiliate (http://www.NAMI.org ) and/or your County Office of Behavioral Health or Mental Health/Mental Retardation, which can probably direct you to mental health care services provided on a sliding scale basis. Information about assistance in paying for prescriptions is available at http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Frequently_Asked_Questions&Template=/Content Management/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=79713#2. 5. How can an adult with mental illness find housing? Options for housing include rent subsidies or supervised apartments or group housing (http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Mental_Illness/About_ Treatments_and_Supports/Housing_-_Continuum_Model_Housing_Options.htm ). Unfortunately, housing for low-income individuals with mental illness is in very short supply and waiting lists can be very long, so it is helpful to apply as early as possible. For help in finding housing in the Philadelphia area, call one of the help lines listed in http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/intro-to-services/ or research specific options listed in http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/resource-guide/. 6. How can an adult with mental illness find social opportunities or a support group? Social opportunities for people with mental illness include one-on-one socializing with volunteers or mental health workers, group social events, drop-in centers (which offer activities as well as a social setting), clubhouses (which offer structured rehabilitation programs and may require a referral), and online support groups, discussion groups and chat rooms. A directory of clubhouses is available at http://www.iccd.org/ and information about online support groups is available at http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/resource-guide/. For information about the social opportunities and support groups in the Philadelphia area, call one of the help lines listed at http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/intro-to-services/ or explore the listings in http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/resource-guide/. 7. How can a family member of someone with mental illness find information, resources, help and/or support?
  4. 4. The Family-to-Family Education Program provides the opportunity to learn about the major mental illnesses from trained family members. This free 12-week program discusses the treatment of these illnesses and teaches the knowledge and skills that family members need to cope more effectively. The Basics education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illness is a free six-session course which provides the fundamentals a caregiver needs for themselves, their family, and their child who is living with a mental illness. For additional information, go to http://namipamainline.org/support/family-to- family-education-basics-programs/. NAMI affiliates provide information, support, and referrals to relevant resources in response to individual inquiries, and most also offer support groups for family members. To find an affiliate near you, go to www.nami.org. For information on support groups offered by NAMI and other organizations in the Philadelphia area, call one of the Help Lines in http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/intro-to-services/ or review the listings in http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/resource-guide/. 8. What can I do if my loved one with mental illness refuses treatment? Many individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or some other types of mental illness suffer from anosognosia (the inability to perceive their illness and need for treatment). One approach that is often effective is LEAP, which stands for Listen (understand what the other person is trying to convey; reflect back what you have heard, without your opinions and ideas; listen for common ground); Empathize (empathize with how they feel about their symptoms and what has happened to them, without necessarily agreeing with everything they say); Agree (find areas of agreement, including goals you both want, e.g. to stay out of the hospital), and Partner: (collaborate to work toward agreed upon goals). For more information about LEAP, see http://www.leapinstitute.org/, the book “I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!” by Xavier Amador, or the video available at http://greatdanefilm.dk/web/Janssen- cilag/npa2011_13012011/amadore_interview.html . In some circumstances, when an individual is involved in a serious and potentially life- threatening psychiatric emergency or severe behavioral health crisis and is unwilling or unable to consent to treatment, state law authorizes court-ordered inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment without the individual’s consent. For inpatient treatment, this process is known as involuntary commitment or civil commitment, and for outpatient treatment, the term assisted outpatient treatment is often used. Criteria and procedures vary in different jurisdictions. For more information on the involuntary commitment process in Pennsylvania, go to http://www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/commitment.aspx 9. What can I do if my loved one with mental illness has been arrested or is behaving in ways which may result in arrest? Suggestions for preventing arrest, information on criminal justice system procedures, advice relating to individuals with mental illness, and links to additional helpful documents are available at http://namipamainline.org/info-resources/criminal-justice-resources/. This document also
  5. 5. provides information about specific resources for people in the Philadelphia area. Advice on coping with and preventing a crisis is available in question 1 of this FAQ.

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