Goal: Wellness, recovery and remission
Education and self-education with the goal of wellness, recovery and remission is an essential part of the recovery process for anyone diagnosed with a mental health disorder, or who manifests the symptoms of a serious mental health disorder without a formal diagnosis. This education should include the entire family and other supportive persons.
Psychoeducation and education on mental health issues contributes
to positive prevention, and can result in mental health well-being,
recovery and remission from mental health disorders.
(Discernment is required for anyone researching mental health issues).
In an article entitled, An Analysis of Promoting Mental Health Education of the University Students
, Yunli Liu of the Department of Medicine at Dezhou University, Shandong China, concludes that mental health education is preventive in terms of mental health disorders, promotes a better quality of psychological well-being among students in general, and contributes to a better social and positive state of mind.
Education and psychoeducation are good prevention for mental health.
This is true both as a preventive measure for those who have not been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and for anyone who feels they might have or who may have already been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, including something serious such as bipolar disorder
Two different doctors - Two different recommendations and recovery plans
If you were told by a doctor who you didn't know too well that you needed a serious and costly operation, would you get a second opinion? Would you take time to learn about the illness? You most probably would. The same is true for mental health disorders. Authorities recommend getting a second opinion when diagnosed with a serious mental health disorder. Different doctors often come up with different diagnoses, as well as different short and long-term treatment plans.
Different doctors can hold widely differing opinions in both the diagnosing and treatment of mental health disorders.
To illustrate, with this real example, one psychiatrist
whose philosophy of treatment was nearly totally based on the medical model, evaluated a patient diagnosed with bipolar disorder
and determined the individual would need to be on heavy psychotropic medications
indefinitely, for life.
Another psychiatrist felt that recovery was within reach, and that psychiatric medications would be necessary for only approximately five years, with a good likelihood of recovery. Two different doctors with the same qualifications determined two decidedly different long-term prognoses. Your choice in doctors and your doctor’s personal philosophy on treatment and recovery is also, therefore, an important decision.
Self-Help Through Education and Psychoeducation Can be Effective with many Mental Health Difficulties
Additionally, there may be a lot you can do on your own to address symptoms and make changes before even going to a doctor, before starting on a specific treatment plan or while on a treatment plan. With physical illnesses, some have benefited from home remedies and a common-sense approach when prescription medicines
For example, one person struggling with acid reflux found no relief from antacid medicines. It created a vicious cycle of relief and even worse acid reflux. However, a teaspoon of vinegar when experiencing acid reflux relieved it without any repercussions. She read about this method in a natural health book.
To a certain extent, this pattern can also be true even with some serious mental health disorders. Not that a few vitamins or a spoonful of vinegar will cure a serious mental health disorder, but that common sense sometimes prevails, when modern medicine falls short. So, don’t let medical jargon throw you.
Do your research; become an expert on whatever disorder you have or suspect you might have. Research the topic from various angles and don’t be content with a mere perfunctory review of a couple of mainstream sites on the subject. Read numerous books, including self help books on the subject, subscribe to magazines, and don’t believe everything you read. Sort and sift through the information, and as you develop insight, you will come closer to a plan that can lead to recovery.
Investigate numerous self-help sites, webpages and books.
|Psychoeducation and education for mental health well-being
Consider mental health and mental health disorders
from a number of different angles.
Consider the symptoms of the disorder from a nutritional angle, from a behavioral viewpoint, from a psychological perspective. Consider and research how lifestyle can affect mental health. If you come to a dead end in researching bipolar disorder, consider good mental health from a more general level. There is a wealth of information on the Internet and in libraries about lifestyles that promote good mental health.
Self Help Mental Health: Education, Psychoeducation
-----------------Put You in Control
To illustrate, if you have heart condition, losing weight, adequate rest and a balanced diet
will help not only with a heart condition, but with a host of other conditions and possible diseases as well. The same can be said for general mental health principles and the specific symptoms associated with bipolar disorder.
Consider Mental Health Recovery of the Individual as a Family Project
The person with the serious symptoms of a mental health disorder, can benefit from understanding the symptoms and ramifications associated with the disorder, and, family members who become educated on the topic will become a valuable part of the support system of the individual. This can contribute to faster and better long-term recovery to the family member diagnosed with the disorder. The entire family should be prepared to make adjustments that results in mental health benefits to the struggling individual member.
Because social and environmental factors can aggravate symptoms associated with many mental health disorders, or even be part of the causes of such disorders, including bipolar disorder, making adjustments within the family can be positive and help to minimize symptoms and contribute to recovery.
Psychologist Jerry Authier, Ph.D. states, in the article, The Psychoeducation Model: Definition, Contemporary Roots and Content, as quoted in the Canadian Counsellor
"Psychoeducation is a therapeutic approach under which the psychological practitioner’s functioning is viewed not in terms of abnormality diagnoses, prescription, therapy, cure; but rather in terms of client dissatisfaction, goal-setting, skill-teaching, satisfaction or goal achievement."
The type of education described by Authier will allow the individual to take positive risks in making balanced decisions and direct the course of one’s own life. Education and insight will make that course easier to negotiate.
Life Skills, Relapse Prevention, Family Psychoeducation, Practical Areas of Life
In a sense somewhat similar to coaching
, psychoeducation should focus on life skills and improving day to day functioning. Psychoeducation should consider skills for relapse prevention, which should include both you and your family.
Families can experience many burdens (financial, social, and psychological) when one member experiences serious mental health difficulties. Although the primary focus of family psychoeducation groups is improved patient outcomes, an essential intermediate goal is to promote the well-being of the family. That includes researching what support is available, including financial support, and what new skills can be learned by the family, with the goal of recovery for the individual.
If the family believes that the primary solution is in a pill, then it is unlikely that there will be much motivation towards making positive changes or learning new skills, other than simply surviving and coping. It is better to focus on building skills, making changes, and striving towards recovery, realizing the fact that there is a high rate of relapse even for those who take psychiatric medication
. Something more, then, is obviously needed then simply taking a prescription.
Learning life skills and adaptive abilities is extremely important. We need to learn to accept that there are issues that need to be addressed, and to actively and proactively address those issues, working towards identifying triggers to mood swings, what lifestyle changes can and need to be made, what specific symptoms can be addressed, contributes to a positive and progressive recovery plan. If the individual finds it difficult to, or does not accept the psychiatric label
, they should accept the fact that there are specific issues that need to be addressed and make efforts towards addressing those issues.
With each incremental step towards recovery, you being to develop a feeling of hope, that this isn't going to last forever, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Conclusion for Education and Psychoeducation for Self and Family for Mental Health Wellness
Education on many different levels, including those related to psychoeducation, developing coping and life skills, education on practical areas of life, developing social skills, as well as education related to vocational opportunities, is of much value for both those with bipolar disorder, as well as for the important people in their lives. This is especially the case with the goal towards remission, recovery and relapse prevention.
References for Mental Health Psychoeducation page
Authier, J. October, 1977. The Psychoeducation Model: Definition
, Contemporary Roots and Content. Canadian Counsellor, 12, 1, 15-20.
Dunn, E.C., Weworski, N. J., Rogers, E. S. 2008. The meaning and importance of employment to people in recovery from serious mental illness: results of a qualitative study. Psychiatric Rehabilitation. 32 (1) 59-62. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18614451
Liu, Y. July 2010. An Analysis of Promoting Mental Health Education of the University Students, Asian Social Science. Vol 6, No. 7.
Though this webpage emphasizes self help and education, there are times when professional support is necessary. Even with professional support, however, self-help, psychoeducation and education on mental health well-being is an essential part of recovery.
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