Mental illness has for many generations been something most families have been reluctant to address from within their midst. Fortunately, attitudes are changing rapidly as we all become more aware of what mental illness is. In our present time, more than at any previous time in recorded history, there are fewer stigmas perpetrated against people who experience a mental illness. What is it that starts off that spark of thought within our mind about us or about a loved one? Perhaps you are aware that something is not quite right about your own behavior, thoughts and or feelings? Could it be that something is not quite right about the way someone close to you is behaving?
In Australia, there is an enormous amount of support available for people who would like to know more about mental illness. Community Mental Health Centres, Community Health Centres, General Practitioners, Hospital Social Work Departments, and also many NGO’s (Non-Government Organisations) are able to give you information, where ever you live. In Australia, SANE Australia provides good on-line information, fact sheets covering a wide range of mental illness, books to purchase and other appropriate information. Their web site is http://www.sane.org/ and for those who may be interested and live in Australia, their telephone number is 1800 18 SANE (if you do not have a keypad phone, SANE is 7263). Alternatively, you are able to access SANE Australia's Helpline via their site as stated above. SANE Australia offers information and advice between 9.00AM and 5.00PM weekdays, EST (Eastern Standard Time).
SANE Australia’s Fact Sheet 22 discusses “Something is not quite right about the way someone close to you is behaving.” This fact sheet assists you to ascertain whether or not your concern is serious or perhaps related to other factors. There are two checklists on this fact sheet to help you clarify what is normal behavior for the person you are concerned about and what behaviors you consider abnormal for that person. There is some information about alcohol and other drugs, and how these factors may have an influence on mental illness. Some really good information is included suggesting how to approach the doctor of your choice.
Where ever you live, I hope you have time to check out either this site (http://www.sane.org/) or a site belonging to a treatment or information centre nearer to you. Sometimes, it is good to just know about issues associated with mental health.
In my family, my youngest son is surviving schizophrenia. He requests that I let you know, his pathway to good mental health has been painful for him. This pathway has also been of great concern to my late husband and me as well as to the rest of our family. My son aged 36 years is now in good health. He takes a minimal amount of medication, is now my carer and also my primary support person. I am so very proud of him and of what he has achieved in his recovery from such a debilitating illness.
Good mental health to you all and please, feel free to leave a comment if you wish.
Sue Bayliss. Cairns, Australia.