Being diagnosed with a mental illness is overwhelming and confusing in itself and knowing what to do about it can seem like maze with no exit. In our work we often work with families whose loved one was recently diagnosed with a mental illness and they often do not know what type of service would be helpful for them. Many times this individual already sees a psychiatrist who is managing their medication and ensuring that it is helpful and effective. Another helpful service is mental health counseling for the individual who is diagnosed with a mental illness as well as their family member. Mental health counseling can assist with guidance and coping through the different challenges that this diagnosis may bring up. It also acts as a support system for the client and family.
Another helpful service that many people are unaware of is care management. A care manager assumes the responsibility of organizing and coordinating all the services related to a person’s care. In the case of a psychiatric condition, a care manager will advocate for the client to ensure that all of his or her needs are being met. This care is not only related to symptoms of a mental health diagnosis but coordinating for services that help a person meet their basic needs.
These basic needs are:
- Other medical care
A care manager will act as a connection to resources in the community. For example, if you feel that your loved one needs access to housing that is specific to individuals with a mental health issue then the care manager will make that connection for you. If you feel that you or your family member is in need of a safety assessment, a care manager will assess the situation coordinate for immediate safety measures are taken. No matter what the need is, a care manager’s responsibility is to advocate on behalf of the client so that his or her quality of life is at its optimal level.
A care manager can provide you with:
- Comprehensive assessments
- Individualized service plans
- Assistance with communication with all health care providers
- Support of family communication
- Facilitation of social and community services
- Follow-up and monitoring of all areas of the plan
The use of a care manager can be a huge benefit to an individual with a mental illness. Many times, individuals may be unaware or unable to fight for themselves; a care manager will be that voice. Also, a care manager will work with family members to coordinate for planning for the future for client so that everything is in place for the individual’s future. Remember, a care manager is an advocate for your loved one and it is their duty to connect your loved one with needed resources!