Posts by Planet Therapy

Free Resource CD On Shared Decision Making (SDM) for Mental Health

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Featured | 1 comment

sdm logoAlthough several new studies may lead you to believe that Shared Decision Making is new to the mental healthcare industry, the system has a history of researchers, practitioners and recovered patients. In fact, SDM and medication management go hand-in-hand toward the recovery process.


Shortcomings Associated With Conceptualized Medication Management

According to a paper released in 2006 by Pat Deegan, PhD and Associates, mental healthcare professionals of that time period often practiced conceptualized medication management. However, the authors argue that compliance-focused strategies fail due to the complexity of the process, the nature of autonomous patients and an assumed projected learning curve that stretches into decades.

Strategies that help increase compliance in patients with severe mental illnesses are based upon paternalism that clashes with the principles of person-centered healthcare. Furthermore, using medication is a hands-on process that demands complex patient decision making interactions. The Deegan team identified this process as an opportunity for the patient to “work through decisional conflicts.”

To you, or your loved one, this means quicker re-entry into:

  • Society
  • Personal relationships
  • Independent living
  • AND peace of mind.

Shared Decision Making As a Model For Recovery

Using medication in an SDM environment establishes a partnership between you and your practitioner. It’s an opportunity for studying the success of a treatment within the context of short and long-term recovery from any major mental disorder. Sharing in the decision-making process permits you and your doctor to work as one in the evaluation of the advantages and the disadvantages of any treatment program.

A study conducted in March of 2008 by the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research out of Cambridge Health Alliance determined that patient-provider communication potentially increases self-reported patient activation, retention and attendance. The study evidenced that intervention participants, when measured against comparison participants, were three times more likely to schedule follow-up medical visits.

SDM as a model for mental health recovery is not new nor is it dormant.

Currently available for free from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: A new CD on Shared Decision Making in Mental Health Decision Aid. The CD-ROM is designed for:

  • Mental Health Patients
  • Substance Abuse Patients
  • Patients Battling With Alcohol Use or Abuse
  • AND others.

The materials focus on SDM intervention and how it helps people with mental illnesses make the right treatment choices. The context includes:

  • Tips
  • Videos
  • Workbooks
  • AND various interactive components of medication-assisted therapy.

You can order your free Shared Decision Making CD now at:

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Evolving Governmental Mental Health Packages

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in About, Featured | 0 comments

mental healthAccording to reports from the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumer’s Association (PMHCA), recovery-oriented systems of care have become the single most important solution for mental illness. The work, purposes and goals of the “recovery movement” advance the concept of recovery-oriented system changes.

Whereas previous treatment programs sometimes resisted the notion of permanent healing, the recovery movement focuses on the belief that people are capable of fully recovering from mental illness. As such, recovery-oriented healing should be the primary goal of any mental health service-delivery system.

National Support For ROSC Mental Health Programs

In the September 2010 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) resource guide, the authors assert a firm belief that ROSC is an integral component of the modern mental healthcare environment. Throughout the guide, caregivers, policy makers and providers of recovery support services are given clear instructions on how to fully integrate ROSC into the evolving changes in governmental mental healthcare programs.

As a relatively new model in the field of substance abuse disorders, ROSC is a continually evolving process. States, communities and even patients will learn and grow as the system is implemented, evaluated and permitted to mature. Sweeping changes in national healthcare reform promotes expanded coverage for citizens suffering from mental health disorders and substance abuse issues. ROSC is ingrained into the new health model. The focus on early intervention, prevention, treatment and full recovery shall rule the future of mental health management.

The Effects On You And Your Family

Mental patients and the families of mental patients can expect to see a change in mental health care that will align the tenets of reform benefits, current program frameworks and the history of ROSC into a single and efficient method of recovery-orientated mental health programs. The process promotes healing through:

  • Advocacy
  • Education
  • Elimination of the discrimination and stigmas so often linked to mental health issues
  • Promotion of social acceptance
  • AND more.

Through the practical application of recovery-orientated systems of care, a mental health patient can be healed, transformed and empowered to attain his or her full potential as a productive member of the local and global community. So, will ROSC open doors into a brave new world?

Time will tell.

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The Complexity of a Bipolar Disorder

Posted by on Jan 29, 2013 in Featured, Living with illness | 0 comments

The Complexity of Bipolar Disorder When Accompanied By Co-existent Illnesses

At twenty-four years old, Susan Harris suffers from bipolar disorder, drug abuse, migraine headaches and social phobia. Due to poor coping skills, she lives with her parents. Normally she responds well to medication.

Bipolar SymptomsBut on November 13th of 2012, Susan disappeared for four days and three nights. It wasn’t the first or the longest. On Friday the 16th, they found her in the alley on the backside of the DeWolfe Street hardware store. Cold, wet and shaking like a loose shelf in a 1850s freight car, she was huddle between the block walls and the dumpster. No one knows what happened or where she spent those missing days.

The burdens of caring for a young adult with bipolar disorder can break a parent’s heart. Each day carries a certain measure of fear and worry – even when the child’s current medication appears to provide measurable success. At any moment something can break and your bipolar child crosses into a season of darkness.

Diagnosing Bipolar Disorder Can Be Complicated By Co-existing Illnesses

Bipolar disorder is typically characterized by discrete and intense emotional changes ranging from extreme manic excitement to deep level bouts with depression. However, the disorder can also be limited to periods of long-lasting unstable mood patterns. When complicated by any of the following co-existing illnesses, bipolar disorder can be very difficult to detect and diagnose:

  • Anxiety disorders such as PTSD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Various physical complications, including diabetes, heart disease and migraines – all capable of inducing symptoms of depression or mania.

Current Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder cannot be cured. Modern treatment helps, but this illness remains a lifelong affliction. Effective control methods include:

  • Medications such as mood-stabilizing products, sleep aids and Lithium treatments designed to aid with thyroid problems
  • Psychotherapy involving cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused coping strategies, social rhythm processes and psycho-education designed to teach bipolar individuals how to recognize danger signs
  • Electro-convulsive therapy, which may be used in the event that medication and/or psychotherapy fails to provide positive results.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, several new studies indicate medication supported by intensive psychotherapy and social rhythm therapy provides better results than those achieved via collaborative care and psycho-education sessions. Yet the big question remains:

How long will it be before the parents of Susan Harris must endure another vanishing daughter ordeal?

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Changing The Way You Deal With Your Child’s Mental Health

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Featured, Parenting | 0 comments

childHelen Keller was treated as a mentally disturbed child yet her disabilities were physical and her mind was clear. But her ability to communicate with her environment was limited and she came from a time in which mentally ill children were often treated as a blot against the dignity of the parents. Society was void of knowledge, understanding and the courage to reject the so-called curse of a mentally disturbed child.

Kindness abounded, but little was done to change the circumstances. People like Anne Sullivan were among the uncommon. There weren’t many blind/deaf girls that enjoyed a world encounter at the faucet of a hand-cranked water pump.


A New Approach To Your Child’s Mental Health


A recent article from the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health brings to light a new conceptual framework for helping to ensure that your child has the opportunities that many of Helen Keller’s peers never received.

The new approach uses the impact of System of Care values to promote enhanced child development. The process focuses on healthy environments, physical health and mental health.

The core approach applies three primary principles:

  1. Identify a child’s mental health problems
  2. Help the child learn to optimize their mental strengths
  3. Focus public health concepts on areas that strengthen your child’s physical health, mental development and mental health.

Three major elements make up the conceptual framework of the program:

  1. Establish principles of application
  2. Establish a set of rules concerning public health response to circumstances
  3. Establish an expanded range of public intervention.

When functioning correctly, this new model of managing children’s mental health will promote better focus on positive mental health. Parents, teachers and authorities will work to prevent mental health problems through treatment and by reclaiming ground previously loss due to poor intervention.

Leaders of policy roles, federal and state facilities and local programs may soon take a “Big” hand in your child’s mental health. The question:

Is it “Big Brother,” interference or is it providing something that the children of Helen Keller’s age never had the opportunity to receive?

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Mental Illness and Homeless Individuals

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Problems | 0 comments

homeless peopleAccording to the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), better than 20% of the homeless people in the U.S. endure one or another serious mental condition. Yet in the nation as a whole, only 6% of the people are considered severely mentally impaired.

In a 2009 government survey of 25 cities, mental illness was listed as the third largest cause for single adults being homelessness. 12% of the cities identified mental illness as one of the top three causes for homeless families.

Helping the Impossible Patient

According to NCH reports, mental illness often prevents a homeless person from forming or maintaining a stable relationship. Part of the problem streams from a lack of understanding by untroubled people – even family members, including you. When your father or mother or daughter or son resists the efforts of caregivers, rejects your support and developments a moment-to-moment lifestyle, anger may become your typical response to every encounter with that person. And it hinders your ability to help.

Homeless people often neglect the basic hygiene practices that help ward off physical complications such as respiratory infections, skin diseases and even life-threatening exposure to harsh weather. They may even use street drugs for self-medication. Smokers share smokes with homeless friends. Tuberculosis waits in the breeze.

Their poor work habits are frustrating to you and maybe even to them. Sometimes they don’t even attempt to obtain employment. The costs of trying to help can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just want to throw up your hands and quit.

Resources Now and More in the Making

When approached correctly, many mentally ill homeless people are willing to receive professional treatment and services. Authorities are working to help improve coordination between existing mental health service providers and homeless shelters. The future is looking better.

For current solutions, get your loved one lined up with an outreach program with workers who strive to establish a relationship of trust through continued contact. According to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), supported housing provides an effective solution for the homeless mentally ill. Here’s a sample of the services:

  • Advanced life management training
  • Employment opportunities
  • Educational tools
  • Flexible treatment options
  • Ongoing access to treatment resources
  • Peer support
  • Physical health care
  • And More.

Your homeless friend or relative can achieve residential stability. Access to support housing programs work. For the sake of your own sanity, check it out.

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