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i'm worried about a family member's mental health


Elenna

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Hi, what would be the best way to get help for a family member? I think this person may have an undiagnosed mental health problem and i am very worried about them. I cannot approach the person about the subject directly for fear of their reaction and it is inconceivable that this person will even consider that they may have a problem, let alone see a dr, counsellor or therapist etc. They have no other close friends or relatives that could influence them to seek help. Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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First off, welcome to the forums.

 

You don't give a location, so I have to assume you live in a western country.

 

If you have a belief that this person may harm himself/herself or harm others you can go to the police and they can take this person into custody. You then have to be able to convince a Judge (and you have be able to do better than, "I just think he's whacked") of your concerns. This person will be held (usually for 3 days) for observation. Only if he/she is considered a threat to themselves or others (that's the legal standard) can they be committed BY THE COURT to an institution for treatment.

 

There was a time when relatives could have a family member committed, but that allowed a lot of abuse of the system (We've ALL seen some horror movie of this type) So now, in order to protect the rights of the victim/patient only the Court can "commit".

 

If all you have are suspicions, or think the person is anything but harmful, your hands are tied. IT IS NO CRIME TO BE CRAZY. We all have the right (even if we are totally cracked) to live free.

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There is one thing you can do, but it's sneaky and risks violating privacy. If you know who this person's doctor is, you can risk trying to alert them to your concerns. If the person is elderly or under age 18, sometimes the doctor is willing to listen and then evaluate the person at their next visit. They can recommend to the individual that they might want to speak to a psychologist or counselor. But it''s a gamble - many doctors will claim they cannot admit to having a patient by that name due to privacy laws and fear of malpractice suits.

 

Otherwise, no, there isn't much that can be done in most western countries to my belief. I have an elderly relative that I have had the police apply the Baker Act to once, but since then she stays outside of the "harm" guidelines and there is nothing I can do but get frustrated in dealings with her.

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COtuner and Nurseman, thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post and share your experiences and advice with me. A helpline recommended writing to their doctor but I agree that this would be sneaky so thanks for your views on that. Although this person is abusive to family members, I agree that having them sectioned is unthinkable as I don't know what's wrong with them. I think, from reading your posts, the only viable option would be to suggest having family therapy and that way this person might at least attend with a view to improving their relationship with other family members. At the same time the therapist might be able to spot something in this person's behaviour, or not, by watching us all interact. I'm new here so I need to find out whether I can give points for your advice and, if so, how. Please bear with me! Thanks again for your advice, your time and your thoughts

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Asking Someone about their Health C...
Asking Someone about their Health Condition || ESL Conversation Practice || ESL Advice

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