Unfortunately, mental health disorders are not uncommon. In the United States alone, nearly one in five adults have a mental health condition at any given time. In 2020, this equated to almost 53 million adults. Additionally, more than one in four with mental health disorders also experience a co-occurring substance use problem. The prevalence of these conditions is alarming.
These statistics help us to understand the likelihood of ourselves or someone we love potentially struggling with their mental health or substance use throughout our lifetime. No question that having a loved one who is actively struggling with their mental health is overwhelming. However, knowing how to navigate the problem can be challenging, especially if your loved one does not see that they could benefit from treatment. Additionally, knowing how to best support your loved one as they begin treatment can be distressing.
Before you consider hosting an intervention for your loved one to receive the professional treatment they deserve, you may want to learn the basics about mental health and substance use. This can help you to have more compassion and understanding for your loved one as they attempt to find their footing in recovery. In turn, it will also help you reduce any judgment or negative responses you may have due to your loved one’s struggles.
Becoming Educated About Mental Health and Substance Use
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” It continues to explain that mental health is indefinitely important, beginning when we are born well throughout our adult life. Similarly, an individual’s mental health can and does change over time.
It is essential to understand that poor mental health does not necessarily constitute a mental health condition. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explains that, in general, a mental health disorder is defined as a “mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder” that varies in impact, including no impairment to mild, moderate, and severe impairment. Some of the most common mental health disorders include:
- Anxiety-related disorders
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Major depression
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance use disorders (SUD)
Causes and Risk Factors
No one cause for any of the mental health conditions listed above exists. Researchers have gathered that genetic and environmental risk factors can increase an individual’s risk of developing a mental health disorder. Some of these risk factors include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Exposure to early stress
- Childhood adversity, including abuse, parental loss, and witnessing domestic violence
- Lack of parental bonding
- Lack of social support
- Substance use
- Discrimination and oppression
Warning Signs of Mental Health Conditions
When working to support your loved one, it is essential to become familiar with warning signs that may indicate a mental health disorder. Although every condition has unique symptoms, there are general and common warning signs of mental health disorders. These include:
- Excessive worry or fear
- Difficulties in relating to or understanding others
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Changes in eating habits
- Changes in sex drive
- Issues with body image
- Increased isolation
- Avoiding social activities
- Suicidal ideation
- Abuse of alcohol and other drugs
- Inability to grieve significant losses
Click here for warning signs specific to certain conditions.
Hosting an Intervention for Your Loved One
Now that you have some background on mental health disorders and how they can develop, you may feel even more concerned for your loved one who is struggling with their mental health. You may notice that your loved one has experienced several risk factors or is exhibiting various warning signs. If this is the case, it may be time to surface your concerns.
Interventions motivate a loved one to seek support and treatment. After all, it is challenging for anyone to come to terms with a lack or loss of self-control. However, interventions must be intentional and compassionate to be successful.
Preparations to Consider
As you make your intervention plan, work to bring together a group of individuals your loved one considers their most important friends and family members. You may also want to consider utilizing a mental health professional who can assist you during the planning process.
Since interventions are highly-charged situations, it is vital to hold compassion as the highest priority throughout the planning process and while the intervention is held. When gathering information about your loved one’s condition, remember to address the facts as objectively as possible. Limit emotionally-charged responses and opinions. Additionally, you may want to create some boundaries for your loved one if your loved one does not accept treatment as a result of the intervention. You can also consider suggesting specific treatment centers and programs that work best with your loved one’s current schedule.
The Intervention Itself
Until the day of the intervention, do not let your loved one know what you are planning. Similarly, prepare for backlash and upset. Here is a list of suggestions for the intervention process:
- State your concerns objectively. Include the length of time you and other loved ones have been concerned.
- Address your loved one’s risk factors and warning signs. Then, allow your loved one room to speak.
- Inform your loved one of the benefits of treatment. Suggest treatment programs that will best fit your loved one’s schedule and even suggest group or family therapy.
- Allow your loved one to request help and support. They can do this with you or the intervention team. Ask what you can be doing to encourage or support them.
- Set boundaries and expectations. Suppose your loved one is nonresponsive or closed off to treatment, set boundaries for your mental health.
- If nothing else, suggest an initial counseling session. This will help your loved one determine the severity of their problem.
Watching your loved one struggle with their mental health is distressing. You may feel it is your responsibility to get them the support and treatment they deserve. As you host an intervention, remember that your loved one must be open to receiving help. SoCal Mental Health is a treatment facility specializing in treating nearly all mental health conditions, including substance use disorder. We understand how challenging it can be to help your loved one understand their need for treatment. Fortunately, we can help you develop an intervention. To learn more about our facility, or to speak with a staff member, call us today at (888) 627-6225.