Undiagnosed and untreated mental health issues and illnesses are extremely prevalent in the United States. By some measures, up to half of adults in the United States who have mental illness in their history do not receive treatment. As a result, someone in your immediate family may suffer from a mental health challenge that is not being treated currently. As a result, you must consider what steps your family can take to help this person be able to find help and improve their situation as it pertains to their mental health and overall well-being.
One of the ways that people who suffer from mental health issues can improve their situation is to go to a mental health facility for therapy and other treatment. Even though these facilities are prevalent in our country it can at first seem to be intimidating as far as how to line up treatment and then be able to take advantage of it. The idea of receiving inpatient mental health care is almost overwhelming in terms of submitting yourself to another person’s process and timeline. So much of your autonomy depends upon being able to make decisions for yourself and what is best for you. When you receive mental health care from an inpatient provider you are automatically no longer on your schedule.
Rather, you’ll need to submit yourself to a treatment plan that you may not even agree with completely. In some cases, the type of treatment that you receive can be difficult to adhere to given your loved one’s challenges with authority figures, stress management, and coping skills. However, if you can be in your loved one’s corner it is easier to help him or her understand that these steps are being taken to help and make her live a better life. It can be difficult for your loved one to understand this at first but the benefit to their understanding of this could be the difference between him or her leading a life of aimlessness and one of purpose.
Unless it is a transfer from an emergency room, most mental health hospitals require that your loved one have a referral from a mental health provider- like a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist. If your loved one does not have a provider like this, then being admitted for inpatient psychiatric care can be a challenge. Even having a social worker assigned to your loved one’s case from a clinic near their home can be enough to help him or her receive inpatient psychiatric care.
Overall, it depends on the facility as to what the requirements for admittance for care will be. However, there typically needs to be a history of self-harm or violence that is taking place in your loved one’s life. These could be prior attempts at suicide or consistent suicidal ideations that have been expressed to you or other people. If you become aware of a loved one who is expressing a desire to harm themselves or others, then reporting that to a local mental health counselor or the doctor for your loved one is a responsible decision to make.
Next, there must have been a serious mental illness which has been diagnosed. As we just walked through, this must be a diagnosis that comes from someone who can provide a medical diagnosis such as a doctor, therapist, or counselor. The diagnosis must not be a self-diagnosis or one that comes from you or another family member. This is more reason to ensure that your loved one has the best chance possible to be able to take part in medical care tailored towards people who suffer from mental health problems. At the very least, your loved one’s primary care doctor may be able to not only diagnose their mental health impairment but also prescribe medicine that may be able to prevent the coming of a mental health crisis.
Finally, being admitted to a mental institution is seen as a last resort. Other methods 4 treating a mental illness will be sought after before trying to place your loved one in a mental institution. Attending therapy and trying to learn coping mechanisms is a great first step toward remedying an ongoing mental health crisis. Additionally, when we see people who suffer from mental health crises it is often the result of him or her not having received consistent treatment early enough. The problems in their life can compound upon one another and what we are left with is a situation where the person is unable to fend for themselves or otherwise engage in self-care.
How long can you expect your loved one to stay in the mental institution once admitted?
This is a commonly asked question. It is only normal to wonder about how long your loved one must stay in the mental institution once admitted for care. Once admitted to a mental institution it will be seen as a serious step towards taking care of that person and their limitations from a mental health perspective. Usually, a person is admitted to a mental institution only after he or she has become combative with caretakers, family members, and other people in their life. In many cases, a spouse or a parent will often seek a court order that requires a hospital or other institution to keep their loved one admitted to hospital care for the foreseeable future due to the safety hazard that he or she presents themselves and others.
At the very least, you can expect your loved one to spend a week inside the mental institution. This will allow your loved one to come down off any medication that he or she has been taking incorrectly or any street drug that has been a part of their system and disrupting their other treatment. Next, a holistic diagnosis can be made of your loved one to determine what their limitations truly are and what diagnosis are appropriate for him or her. From there, a correct regimen of medication can be prescribed, treatment can be administered, and a determination can be made as to the next steps that may be necessary for that person. In many cases, these mental institutions have connections and knowledge of providers in the area that your loved one may have been unaware of. This can be essential for helping him or her be able to secure post-discharge care that is advantageous for him or her.
What can you do while your loved one is admitted to a mental institution?
While your loved one is receiving inpatient care for a mental issue you can spend this time asking anyone that you can about the condition that he or she is suffering from. One of the difficult parts of this process for you as a family member is that your access to information may be limited in terms of what you know about your loved one’s condition. Remember that your loved one is under no obligation to tell you anything about their condition. As a result, you may know virtually nothing about what is happening with your loved one or even the type of care that has been received by him or her to that point. Now that your loved one is receiving a specific type of care, you can take this opportunity to talk to any of their providers that you can. However, unless you are the guardian of your loved one the amount that a doctor or other person may be able to tell you is probably going to be limited.
On a practical level, ensuring that your health insurance is accepted by this provider is a sensible thing to do. You can Talk to your insurance company to ensure that your insurance policy is accepted at the psychiatric facility where your loved one is staying but you can also talk to the facility itself. There may be other medical providers who assist the facility in caring for patients and you can determine if all these additional providers, if any take your insurance. This may be the furthest thing from your mind when you have a loved one who is going through a mental health episode. However, this is one of the practical steps that you can take instead of worrying incessantly and doing nothing of value for your loved one. Even if you are not a mental health expert yourself you can still do things that can assist your loved one during this time.
Are you able to have a loved one admitted to a mental institution?
We are sure that many of you feel like you are in a helpless situation currently. For one, you may have limited knowledge of the mental health problems that your loved one is going through. Again, it is not everyday knowledge to possess as far as how to diagnose issues and then recommend types of treatment for your loved one. Additionally, when your loved one is going through a mental health crisis there is only so much you can do to keep him or her out of harm’s way and to protect those around you, as well.
It would be only natural for you to wonder whether you can take some steps on your own to do something about the problems that your loved one is experiencing. If you are seriously worried about your loved one and their health and safety then you can recommend that he or she be committed on a short-term basis in a mental institution. This is especially true if your loved one has already attempted to harm himself or others. Family members, friends, law enforcement, and even emergency responders can make recommendations to various mental institutions to have your loved one admitted for care especially if he or she has attempted suicide.
In some cases, you may even find yourself in a position where your loved one has volunteered to be admitted for inpatient psychiatric care. In that case, you can even plan out with your loved one the type of care that he or she will receive. Going to the website of a local mental institution to be able to find out what your loved one can expect may be able to help if you can coordinate a time to have him or her admitted.
Once your loved one is at the facility and is about to receive care then you should take the time to go over your experiences with your loved one with staff. Remember that although they are professionals when it comes to treating people with mental health issues, they are at a disadvantage compared to you because you have seen your loved one go through certain events. When you talk with these folks you can share with them your experiences, and can offer recommendations as to how to talk to your loved one when he or she is going through a crisis. You may be surprised at the amount of help you can provide these people and discussing the issues with him or her we’ll build a report that allows better communication throughout the time when your loved one is receiving inpatient care.
What can you watch out for when it comes to helping determine if inpatient care is needed?
The simple answer is that it can depend on the specific circumstances of your loved one when it comes to him or her being admitted for psychiatric care. There is no simple answer, in other words. Your loved one will need to go through several situations before a mental institution will likely consider admitting him or her. It is not easy to go through these types of subjects. However, with some guidance from you and other family members, you can position yourself well to be able to help a loved one who needs help.
A history of physical harm to themselves or others is a strong indicator that your loved one may need to seek help from an inpatient facility. This is a relatively simple lesson to consider and it’s one that we have taught our children for generations. It is rarely appropriate to hit another person. Even if we do concede that there are limited circumstances where striking another person is appropriate it is not as if we can trust a person with a mental health problem to differentiate between inappropriate situations to do these actions. Therefore, if your loved one is harming others at work or in their personal life then this may be a sign that you need to begin the process of recommending inpatient psychiatric care.
Next, when your loved one is making threats or even acting out threats of harming themselves then this is also a good indicator that your loved one may benefit from inpatient psychiatric care. It can be difficult for you to distinguish between real threats of harm and your loved one being serious about harming themselves. Therefore, you can benefit greatly from having a close relationship with your loved one. It is not the case that you can be well positioned to help your loved one if you are only seeing your loved one occasionally as when you live across the country.
Expressing violent thoughts both in person and online are signs that your loved one may benefit from being admitted to an inpatient facility. Even if you are not someone who spends a great deal of time online you are loved one can benefit from you checking out their social media closely to ensure that violence is not being promoted. For anyone who thinks that violence on social media may not translate to violence in real life, it would be a good idea to think twice about that. Instead, focus on the tone and demeanor of your loved one so that you can better acclimate yourself to the needs of your loved one.
Final thoughts on level ones and sympatric hospitals
It is not abnormal to feel helpless when you are dealing with a situation where you have a loved one suffering from a mental health issue. To be sure, there is no how-to guide on how a person with little to no experience dealing with subjects like this can handle a mental health episode or panic attack. However, that may be exactly what your loved one needs in this situation. Where can you turn when it comes to these types of problems that you may be facing?
In a practical sense, the best place for you to turn are local resources such as your County Health Department, law enforcement, and the treating providers of your loved one. If you get to a point where the issue of guardianship becomes necessary for your family to consider then please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to learn more about the assistance that we may be able to provide you and your family.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed guardianship attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas guardianship and estate planning as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a guardianship case.