Most New Year’s Resolutions focus on self-improvement: lose weight, quit smoking, be more organized and exercise – all great goals for the coming year. But when it comes to mental health, your own gains can also be of benefit to others. In the spirit of improved living for everybody in the New Year, here are five mental health resolutions to benefit both you and a loved one with mental illness.
5 Resolutions for Better Family Mental Health
- Put on your own oxygen mask first. This was the theme from one of Laurel House’s Family Seminars in October and I take it to mean that you cannot effectively care for a loved one with mental illness without first tending to your own well-being and mental health.
- Identify a supporter network. The idea is to identify and recruit extended family members, friends and neighbors ahead of time to support you and other primary caregivers of a loved one with mental illness in times of crisis.
- Develop a crisis plan. The ‘Crisis & Recognition’ and ‘What to Do in a Crisis’ pages of rtor.org cover this topic in greater detail… A crisis plan is a document that describes the steps to take and people to contact in a mental health crisis, stored in a binder with information such as diagnosis, current medications, service plans and evaluations, a copy of the insurance card and contact information for treating professionals.
- Open a tax-free ABLE account. This year, Congress passed legislation enabling family members to set aside tax-free income to pay for future medical and mental-health related costs for qualifying children and adults with disabilities. More information about these accounts will appear on rtor.org once the IRS releases guidelines for determining eligibility.
- Visit the blogs at rtor.org regularly for the latest in family mental health news. Rtor.org regularly brings you news and information on the best practices and providers in recovery-oriented mental health care. Future topics on the blogs will include: mental health supported housing, financial planning for disabled loved ones, advocating for a disabled child in the public school system, and qualifying for state and federal disability benefits. Plus, up-to-date reports on evidence-based and emerging best practices, and regular reviews of Family-Endorsed Mental Health Providers.
Jay Boll, Editor in Chief
If you or a loved one has a mental health disorder and would like information about mental health resources, please contact one of our Resource Specialists.
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