Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Rehabilitation for the mentally ill

Mental illnesses can interfere with the ability of a person to function at home, at work and insocial situations. Severe mental disorders can disable the person for a number of reasons:

• ‘feeling’ symptoms can make the person feel there is no point in working or meeting up withfriends;

• ‘thinking’ symptoms can make it harder for a person to concentrate, make decisions properly orcarry on conversations with others;

• abnormal behaviour can make the person isolated from others;• stigma and discrimination make it harder for people with a mental illness to get jobs or marry.

Rehabilitation is the process of helping people find ways ofreturning to the normal life they led before the illness started.

There are a number of things you can do to help a person achievethis goal:

• ensure that the illness is being correctly treated;

• plan the rehabilitation with him and his family;

• suggest activities that he would be able to do and find pleasurable (as he succeeds in these activities, suggest newand more challenging activities);

• always keep in mind his actual abilities before he fell ill when planning rehabilitation.

• counsel the family regarding treating him as a responsible adult (this means allowing him tomake decisions for himself);

• encourage social contact with others, such as friends, neighbours, relatives;

• if he is religious, encourage contact with spiritual activities as long as they do not interfere withhis medical treatment;

• refer him to local employers who you know are sensitive to giving jobs to people with adisability;

• refer him for vocational training, such as carpentry or some other skill;

• monitor his progress regularly, and use these meetings to counsel him regarding mental health problems and life difficulties that are bothering him.

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