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General Information About Mental Health

coping with mental health

Family Life Cycle
The emotional and intellectual stages you pass through from childhood to your retirement years as a member of a family are called the family life cycle. A supportive family can profoundly influence your behavior and benefit your development.

Mental Health Problems and Mind-Body Wellness
Mental health problems are similar to other health problems: some can be prevented; others will go away on their own with home treatment; and some need professional attention.

Recovering Your Mental Health: A Self-Help Guide
This guide identifies activities and strategies that people may use to help manage their own illnesses and services. It is based on the day-to-day experiences of people with symptoms of mental health problems, and how they get well and stay well.


Anti-Stigma: Do You Know the Facts?
Stigma is not just a matter of using the wrong word or action. Stigma is about disrespect. It is the use of negative labels to identify a person living with mental illness. Stigma is a barrier. Fear of stigma, and the resulting discrimination, discourages individuals and their families from getting the help they need.

Before You Label People, Look At Their Contents
Everyone knows why it is wrong to discriminate against people because of their race, religion, culture, or appearance. They are less aware of how people with mental illnesses are discriminated against. Although such discrimination may not always be obvious, it exists-and it hurts.


How To Pay for Mental Health Services
The high cost of health care makes treatment out of reach for many people. Those who do not have health insurance — more than 40 million Americans — often avoid treatment entirely, because costs can be staggering.

Paying for Your Medications
If you are having difficulty paying for your medications you may qualify for financial assistance or free medications.Visit the Medication Assistance Center — your access to patient assistance programs sponsored by drug companies, as well as organizations that provide information about low cost medication programs.

Mental Illness Is Not a Full-Time Job
Like all workers, people with mental illnesses can benefit greatly from the security and self-sufficiency that come with stable and fulfilling employment. In addition to providing a living, work gives people a sense of belonging and community. It also creates a network of friends and colleagues.

Housing Options for People with Mental Illness
Why are housing choices so important? For people with severe mental illness, home can be a space to live in dignity and move toward recovery.

Visit the Resource Center for Disability and SSA Information
If you or a loved one is disabled because of a mental illness, you can learn about your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, the Disability Center provides access to information about Social Security Benefits and organizations that may be able to provide assistance.


Choosing the Right Mental Health Therapist
Therapy is a collaborative process, so finding the right match-someone with whom you have a sense of rapport-is critical. After you find someone, keep in mind that therapy is work and sometimes can be painful. However, it also can be rewarding and life changing.

Types of Mental Health Providers
If you have a mental health disorder and have decided to be treated, you most likely will be referred to a mental health provider. This individual is trained to make an appropriate diagnosis and work with you to make sure you receive the best therapy, and the correct medication, if needed.


Traditional Therapies
Mental health professionals use a variety of approaches to give people tools to deal with ingrained, troublesome patterns of behavior and to help them manage symptoms of mental illness.

Alternative Approaches to Mental Health Care
An alternative approach to mental health care is one that emphasizes the interrelationship between mind, body, and spirit. Although some alternative approaches have a long history, many remain controversial.


Making the Most of Your Appointment
Many people are more satisfied with their health care if they share the responsibility with their health professionals. Your health professional is an expert on medical care, but you are the expert on yourself. Often there is more than one option for diagnosing or treating a condition. By partnering with your health professional, you can help choose the option that best fits your values, beliefs, and lifestyle.

Making Wise Health Decisions
Throughout your life you will have to make health decisions for yourself and your family. The decisions you make will influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of your care. In general, people who work with their doctors to make health decisions are happier with the care they receive and the results they achieve.

Share in Every Medical Decision
Throughout your life you have to make health decisions for yourself and your family. The decisions you make influence your overall well-being as well as the quality and cost of your care. In general, people who work with their health professionals to make health decisions are happier with the care they receive and the results they achieve. It is important to share in every decision about your health.

Skills for Reducing Costs (But Not Quality)
Making wise health decisions can help you reduce your health care costs. The goal is to get just the care you need, nothing more, and certainly nothing less.

Work in Partnership with Your Health Professional to Prevent Medical Errors
Most errors are caused by problems created by today's complex health care system. Errors also occur when health professionals and their patients have problems communicating. Uninvolved and uninformed patients are less likely to accept their health professional's recommended treatment and less likely to do what they need to do to make the treatment work.

Work in Partnership With Your Doctor
Your relationship with your doctor greatly influences your ability to make wise health decisions. It can also affect the outcome of your care. Tell your doctor that you want to be a partner in making decisions about your health care. Chances are, your doctor will be happy to know that you are interested in taking an active role in your health.


Mental Health Assessment
A mental health assessment is an evaluation of your emotional functioning and your ability to think, reason, and remember (cognitive functioning). It involves an interview with a health professional and also may involve a physical examination of your nervous system, written or verbal tests, and laboratory tests (such as blood and urine tests).

Mental Status Exam
A mental status exam is a simple test that can help assess:

  • Thought processes.
  • Language skills.
  • Ability to remember shapes and objects and their locations relative to each other in space (spatial relations skills).
  • Ability to know the day and time, where one is, who one is, and who other people are (orientation skills).

Laboratory and Imaging Tests and Procedures
Your doctor may recommend that you have some lab tests (blood and urine) or imaging studies (X-rays, scans, MRIs) to evaluate your symptoms. Most often, a careful medical history, psychological history, and physical examination are all that is needed to make a diagnosis. However, your symptoms may be due to a condition

To learn more about some of these tests, select from the list below:

Last modified on: 30 June 2015

Angell Street Psychiatry
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