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    Posted May 10, 2014 by
    Ogden, Utah
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Going public with mental illness

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    What if my child is starting to show signs of mental illness?

    This post is for families who are worried about a child starting to show signs of mental illness; they ought to
    consider the following. This post is also about developing a better manage mental health system based upon how we learn, as well.
    Many of those who have undiagnosed mental illness may be very religious but are walking time bombs. Now I am not saying all people who are religious have mental illness, I am saying those with mental illness may be talking to God. Mental health challenges can be managed just like your blood pressure, if caught early. Similarly, you would want to get your blood pressure in check before a heart attack or a stroke. Thus you will not have to experience an emergency from letting this disease from getting out of hand. You should not be worried to take your child to see your family physician instead of clergy. After all, mental illness is a disease. This is no different if your child has pneumonia, they can refer you to a specialist as well. Though you must first understand this disease.
    To start, I believe there are better ways to reach people to those with mental illness and to reach people who may be a high school dropout or are homeless (who many of these groups also have mental illness, as well)
    In social settings, you must be a good listener and be able to read facial expressions, body language and tone of speech, to get by. That is why we are not social animals and prefer to be left alone. This is due to not be able to pick up social ques.
    This is true if a child is not responding to your words (whether by nagging or by yelling), we respond better by visual means, instead. Frustrated parents who try to communicate by these (audio) ways, just increases stress among all who are involved. Stress aggravates mental illness symptoms. Thus you make things worse. (You could print off a chore chart or inspirational quotes and post them on a bathroom mirror or the refrigerator instead.) This will get through to us than by audio means. To prove that there are those of us who are not good listeners, the following may show this to be the case. For instance, whenever I listen to my answering machine and the caller states their name and their number, I have to replay it at least 3-4 times before I can write it down correctly. Whereas, those who are good listeners and do better in social settings, all they need to do to is to listen to their answering machine 1-2 times to get it. Thus family members should be mindful of using printed words than audio, it is much more effective as a result. If you wish you might try to call your child and leave a message, then see how many times it took your child to write the message. It may prove why your verbal instruction is ineffective as a result. Now how do we create a better mental health system once someone has then been diagnosed with this disease, they also should be mindful of how we learn.
    Research shows there are 3 types of learners. There are those who listen well (not me), those better at leaning by sight (whether by the written word or by diagrams) and those who are hands on learners. There are many of us who are bad at English, but are excellent at Scrabble, since we are tactile learners. I myself do better with the written word and diagrams instructions. I had worked at one place and the boss would give me oral instructions and I did not follow these instructions. Thus I did not do well at this work place and I did not keep that job for long. On the contrast, another employer that I worked for gave me written instructions and I kept that job a little longer.
    That is the challenge with counseling is that you must be a good listener. Therefore, to create a better mental health delivery system to educate and to counsel people, they ought to utilize visual and tactile ways to reach people.
    Given this information, they could use today's technology to help counsel people to reach their fullest potential. Counselors could create e-mail accounts for those clients so youtube videos could be downloaded to help their clients grow. So for a particular challenge that the client may have for certain week, these counselors would input a code so the right video will be uploaded to their e-mail account. Also during these counseling sessions, the counselors should bring in printed information for them to work on at a counseling session. Though counseling will be ineffective unless the family knows what to do; therefore, to create a better home environment for the loved ones to live a more functional life, the following should be done.
    Most likely family members may also be visual and/or tactile learners; perhaps they should also get an e-mail account as well to learn how to create a better environment for those with mental illness.
    Is their home life too chaotic or is there too much nagging (will not work for those who are not good at listening?) Perhaps by using videos or even board games that teaches human psychology and human relations. May be a better way to reach family members of how to create a better home environment for those with mental illness.
    As part of any mental health delivery system, they ought to create a place to go for those with mental illness outside the home, so people may learn things like on the job training or ways to improve themselves; thus you reduce the downward spiral and human conflict at the home. There is something magical to one's mental health learning a new skill, as well. It helps people in the long run to reduce unwanted symptoms.
    So please consider these ideas to help those with mental illness and their family members to better help manage this disease. It can be manage better with such changes. Then you may create healthier families and communities alike.
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