By Ryan Johnson, Behavioral Health Consultant
As a behavioral health consultant at Legacy’s Montrose clinic, I often am referred patients that are in crisis. A behavioral health crisis is a state of temporary distress, which can be caused by psychological burnout, sleep deprivation, severe over work, traumatic events or an untreated mental health disorder. An untreated mental health disorder in combination with chronic health issues, relationship problems, grief or a change in housing or job status can be burdensome and lead to an inability to function.
One common thread amongst many of these patients is not remaining active participants in their mental health care.
After a patient begins treatment and gets to a place of stability, they often feel better and decide to stop going to appointments. But when symptoms resurface, or new problems arise, they can be intense. And the patient might have fewer resources or coping mechanisms to get them through, because they’re no longer in care.
Continuing treatment can sometimes be a challenge, but below are some ways to help stay on track.
1. Familiarize yourself with your diagnosis. Talk with your primary care provider, therapist or psychiatrist about what it means to have your diagnosis and how to best manage it under current circumstances. There still tends to be a stigma within some communities and cultures around getting help, but know that behavioral health is just as important as physical health.
2. Don’t be hesitant to ask for help. People may not stay in care due to specific hardships, such as transportation, finances, work schedules, etc. At Legacy, we have case managers and social workers available to help connect you to resources to stay in care. We also offer sliding scale prices which can lessen the financial burden.
3. Discuss side effects with your provider. Many patients stop treatment due to prescription side effects, without consulting the prescribing physician about them first. Keeping the lines of communication open with your provider is strongly recommended.
4. Trust the process. Therapy and/or medication does not always bring immediate change to your life. Some medications require longer-term use to see benefits whereas others might be more fast-acting. Depending on what you bring to the table and your willingness to engage in therapy, it can take time to notice change. Remember to trust the process and practice patience.