Staging a Mental Health Intervention
Whether you are a family member, a friend, a coworker, etc. having to stage an intervention can be terrifying. You don’t know how your loved one will react to your concerns. You may be the only one who they are speaking to at the time or the only person they trust, but sometimes ripping the bandaid off and having an honest conversation can be the best thing for them.
It can be difficult to know how to support a loved one who is struggling with their mental health. Staging an intervention is one way to provide support and encouragement to seek treatment, but it’s important to make sure the intervention is done in a way that is respectful and supportive.
For those who are wondering how they can stage a mental health intervention that is effective and helpful, here are some tips:
1. Talk to your loved one ahead of time
It’s important to have a conversation with the person you’re worried about before the intervention. By being prepared and feeling less surprised, they will feel more in control of the situation during the intervention and will be less likely to have a negative reaction or simply leave. You can talk about your concerns and why you think an intervention would be helpful.
2. Gather information and resources
In addition to talking to the person you’re worried about, it’s also helpful to gather information about the mental health problem they’re struggling with and treatment options. This will help you be more prepared to talk about your loved one’s options and help them make a decision about treatment.
3. Choose a respectful and supportive location
The location of the intervention should be somewhere the person feels comfortable and safe. This could be their home, a trusted friend or family member’s home, or even a neutral location like a park.
4. Invite supportive people
It’s important to invite people who the person trusts and feels comfortable around. This could be close friends, family members, or even a family doctor or therapist.
5. Have a plan
Having a plan for the intervention will help it go more smoothly. This could include what you’ll say, what resources you’ll share, and what the next steps will be.
6. Be prepared for resistance
It’s common for people to resist getting help for mental health, so be prepared for this possibility. Do your best to remain patient and understanding, and try to stay calm even if the person gets upset.
7. Follow up after the intervention:
It is vital to follow up with the individual after the intervention has been carried out to find out how they are progressing and help them stay on track. This could include checking in regularly, attending group therapy sessions with them if possible, or just being available to talk when they need it.
The act of intervening when someone is struggling with their mental health can be incredibly difficult, but it is important to remember that most people with mental illness do not pose a threat to the community. Despite what you might have heard, people with mental illness tend to be more likely to become victims of violence rather than perpetrators.
Knowing When to Intervene
While it can be obvious sometimes when a loved one needs help, it isn’t always that easy. Many people make an active effort to hide their struggles, and may be intensely self conscious about what they’re going through. Often people like this need help the most, so if you suspect a loved one may be struggling to manage their mental health on their own, it’s important to know what to look for.
1. Look for changes in behavior.
When trying to determine whether someone is struggling with their mental health, one of the most important things to look for are changes in their behavior. This could manifest in a number of ways, such as:
- withdrawing from friends and activities they used to enjoy
- sleeping more or less than usual
- changes in eating habits
- exhibiting more aggression or irritability
- mood swings
- loss of interest in personal appearance
- decline in work performance
2. Listen to what they’re saying.
It is also important to look for changes in how someone expresses themselves when trying to determine if they are struggling with their mental health. There are a few ways this can show up:
- talking about feeling hopeless or helpless
- expressing excessive worry or anxiety
- talking about wanting to hurt themselves or others
- talking about feeling like a burden to others
- expressing feelings of suicidal ideation or self-harm
3. Look for changes in thinking.
Changes in thinking can also be an indication that someone is struggling with their mental health. This can look like:
- having trouble concentrating
- being easily confused
- having racing thoughts
- having difficulty making decisions
- believing things that are not true
The most important thing to remember when it comes to mental health interventions is that they should be done with the goal of helping the person get the professional help they need.
Mental health interventions can take many different forms, but all share the goal of helping the person struggling with mental illness to improve their quality of life. The type of intervention will be tailored to the specific needs of the individual and may include medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
In many cases, mental health interventions can be extremely effective in addressing mental health issues and helping loved ones begin the journey back to leading a normal, productive life. It is important to remember, however, that mental health interventions are not a cure for mental illness, but nonetheless can be vital in helping someone gain control over their symptoms and improve their quality of life.