If you have a loved one who has a mental health problem but will not seek help for that problem, then this can leave you in a tough position. Although you want to do what is right for your loved one you may also have competing interests of wanting to honor that person’s wishes and a lack of knowledge about the next steps to take if you would like to see that person receive care for themselves. Brushing off the person’s mental health issues and assuming things will get better on their own is not necessarily a wise move. From our experiences here at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, mental health challenges typically do not get better on their own. Rather, intervention is needed, and people need to take proactive steps to improve the quality of their mental health.
These mental health issues can become problematic for families if you have a situation where your loved one has become unstable or belligerent in how they interact with other people. Isolating that person and not allowing him or her to meet others can seem like a solution for a small period but, generally speaking, is not a good long-term plan. Seeing a family member teeter on the edge of sanity due to an issue with mental health issues, sobriety or addiction can be a helpless position to find yourself in. You want to do what is right for that person, but you also want to allow him or her to make their own choices. How can you figure out when it is appropriate to draw the line on this type of issue?
This is a simpler issue when we think about children who have mental health issues. For a child with a mental health issue, you can simply dictate to him or she that help is going to be sought and that you are not going to allow your child to suffer unnecessarily from an untreated mental health issue. In many ways, you would simply handle the situation like you would if your child had a physical illness that was bothering him or her. For instance, if your child sprained their ankle, you wouldn’t allow your child to walk around the house limping for a month at a time before you chose to help him or her receive care for their ankle. Rather, you would find a doctor, get an X-ray, maybe put a brace or a boot on the foot, and help your child to get well.
However, when it comes to mental health challenges there is something different that oftentimes arises that causes us to think twice about taking the next step to get care. Even for a child, you may have second thoughts about the challenges that are a part of assisting your young one in receiving the care that he or she needs. However, ultimately, most parents would see a problem and would work to resolve the issue through diligent mental health care and treatment. Certainly, in today’s day and age, there are many resources available for families such as yours if you only seek them out and have a plan in mind. Your child is your responsibility, and their mental well-being is just as important as any other facet of their life. The main challenge associated with seeking out care for your child in this regard is that there is no guidebook on mental health for anyone, child, or adult. Rather, you need to take the steps that you believe are important to benefit the life of your child based on your experiences and the knowledge you accumulate through diligent research.
When you have an adult family member who is acting erratically due to suffering from an undiagnosed or untreated mental health problem then that is a different subject altogether. We have all been in situations where we have felt like we want to do something for another person, but that other person is just not being receptive to our efforts to help him or her. This could be the case in a situation where you have a family member who can function adequately but, in many ways, suffers from problems related to mental health limitations.
How can you identify signs of mental health problems? For one, you can reach out to mental health experts in your area to determine clinical responses to these mental health difficulties. The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan have experience helping people whose family members suffer from mental health challenges but bear in mind that we are not experts on mental health. However, we are using this blog post to be able to provide you with basic information about mental health which may be helpful to you and your family. If nothing else, you can use this as a resource to motivate you to discover what steps you might be able to take to help improve the quality of life for your family member.
If you get to a point where you and your family determined that there are serious mental health problems going on with your family member and that you are now considering whether it is a good idea to create a guardianship or explore other legal avenues where decisions can be made on behalf of your mentally impaired family member, then reaching out to the Law Office of Bryan Fagan makes a ton of sense. Our attorneys are not able to provide you with specific advice on this subject in a blog post like this. The best we can do is provide you with basic information that can help you identify warning signs for mental health problems and then work through issues about how to talk to your loved one about these problems before they become even bigger.
We offer free-of-charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are casual but informative. We will listen to your situation, provide you with information, and then work with you and your family to determine whether you may need an attorney in your life. Our attorneys do not make decisions for our clients. We provide our clients with information who can then utilize that information in a way that helps their family. Along the way, we are here to help guide and reinforce the good decisions of our clients as best we are able. If that sounds like the kind of relationship that you would like to explore entering into, please contact our office today for a free-of-charge consultation.
Responding to a family member with a mental health challenge
Being put in a situation where you have a family member who is struggling with a mental health challenge is not ideal. You will want to help care for this person and make sure that he or she can live their life to the best of their abilities. We sometimes take for granted our ability to make decisions for ourselves that are helpful and positive. However, it can be a debilitating feeling to see a loved one make bad decisions for themselves and to not be able to do anything about it. This is where having a relationship with this person will pay dividends for you and your family. The closer your relationship is with this person and the more trust that he or she has in you the better off you will be from the standpoint of being able to help this person identify problems in their life and to be able to determine whether this person will be agreeable to listen to your concerns and ultimately respond to them favorably.
This is part of a discussion on mental health challenges that could be especially difficult. It is hard for us to be able to say for certain what kind of help may be available to your family member. Without knowing anything about him or her specifically, where you live, your financial resources, and your family’s ability to support one another at this time we are making a lot of assumptions about what resources are out there for your loved one period however, one thing that we do feel comfortable discussing in this blog post is that the better your relationship with your family member the better off your family member will be in the long run.
For starters, it is not uncommon for someone to suffer from trauma or mental health problems for an extended period before anyone notices their issues. People can suffer in silence before they ever mention to a family member that they are struggling with something. Or people may get to a dark place and never think to mention to a family member about the challenges they are facing. All the while, the person’s family may be going about their own lives as normal without ever having paid close attention to what was going on.
The more dialed in you can be with your family members, the more likely you are to have a close relationship with each person. This means that if you do have a family member who is going through a mental health challenge then you will be able to quickly assess the problem and be able to make recommendations to him or her. However, at the outset, this likely looks a lot more like you have a friendly conversation with him or her so that the person will know that your interests are aligned with theirs and that you only want the best for him or her. Trying to accomplish this tall task without first having a good relationship can be next to impossible.
A situation that some of you may be finding yourselves in currently is that your family member’s mental health challenges have gotten out of control and he or she is now making threats towards others and threatening the safety of themselves and your family members. It is understandable to want to step in and intervene in a situation like that if you can. However, the difficulty arises when your physical safety is at risk. Even putting others in a position where they could be collateral damage and injured when you are trying to intervene may be reason enough to call in the authorities to help handle an otherwise dangerous situation.
Calling the police would probably be the first place where you would look when it comes to handling a dangerous situation like this. Whether this is the best course of action for your family to take would be difficult for us to write about in this blog post because we simply do not know the circumstances that you all are facing. I’m sure that we have all heard at this point the explanation that law enforcement officers are not trained to deal with mental health illnesses and the situations that arise from those illnesses. You may want to do some due diligence as far as determining the extent to which law enforcement in your area is trained to handle mental health situations. At the same time, there may not be resources in your area to call experienced and trained mental health professionals to come out and handle a dangerous situation, either.
If you feel that you can do so it could be best simply to talk to your family member to try and see what you can do to help him or her in that moment. Allowing him or her to talk to you and to express themselves fully is something that may be difficult for many families to begin to do. You may have so much going on in your mind at that moment and being able to share those thoughts only after allowing your family member to express themselves could be a challenge. However, reinforcing the trust that your family member has in you by helping him or her see that you are willing to talk to him or her about the challenges you all are facing as a family can go a long way toward helping resolve potentially dangerous circumstances.
Your family member may already be seeing a mental health professional, counselor, or doctor for the challenges that he or she is facing. If you can attend visits or appointments with this professional, you should try and find out what methods their office recommends your family follow if a mental health episode escalates. For example, you could ask the doctor or therapist if there are resources in your area to contact if your relative becomes violent or otherwise unable to be cared for. Having this information available and ready to be used at a moment’s notice can be the difference between a dangerous situation that escalates or de-escalates.
It is not the experience of our attorneys that mental health problems improve in individuals without steps being taken to guide that person toward resources that can help him or her out of a potentially dangerous or negative situation. You may not be aware of the help that you can provide to your family member at this time. However, what you can do is to begin to develop a strategy on how to help your loved one. If you can genuinely show trust in your loved one, concern for the situation and love for them overall that can increase the chances of your family member finding the help that he or she needs. Otherwise, you are left fighting with him or her to begin mental health treatment that he or she is probably unwilling to explore.
Once you can determine a course of action along with your family member then you can feel more confident about making plans for him or her when it comes to care that may be needed. In some situations, the mental health care that he or she receives may be sufficient to help him or her be able to get back on their feet and be able to lead an adult life independently. In other situations, you may be best suited talking to an experienced guardianship professional who can help you and your family member walk through the process of establishing a guardianship for him or her.
We thank you for choosing to spend part of your day with us today here on our blog. It means a lot that you would place trust in our office when it comes to being able to help make decisions in your life. We know that having a family member who suffers from a mental impairment can be a significant challenge. If you are trying to determine where you can make a difference in your loved one’s life and whether there are avenues available for you to do so, then we encourage you to begin that conversation with your loved one and to check back here with our law office if you have any questions about the law and how it may impact 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 estate planning 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 estate planning as well as about how your family’s circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a probate case.