I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Mental Health Cheat Sheet

This is a handout I created for family members.  Feel free to print it out!

Mental Health CheatSheet:
1. As long as there is life, there is hope for a better life!
2. Independence is sacred.  
3. Have a plan of action - how to handle crisis, triggers.  Prepare in advance so that handling a crisis will be easier and more ethical.  WRAP (wellness recovery action plan)
4. Move towards love not fear.
5. Validate the intensity of the person’s emotions.  You don’t have to agree with the actions or beliefs, but often times people just need to be heard, supported, and validated.
6. Ask deeper questions, and then listen.
7. Both language and treatment needs to be recovery centered.
8. Focus on. Wellness, not illness; strengths, not weaknesses; people, not problems.
9.  Assume there has been some sort of trauma, even if it just the trauma of experiencing intense feelings and not knowing how to manage them.  It is more correct to ask “What happened to you?” Than “What’s wrong with you?”
10.  Recovery is not in a straight line.  Mistakes and relapses will happen - the goal is for them to happen less and be less traumatic each time.  A relapse does not mean a person is hopeless, but most likely that they have some trauma that needs attention and support.
11. If someone does not have interest in a particular type of treatment, don’t force it (unless life or death).  A person has to be willing to learn to be able to learn.  If it’s not wanted, it probably will not help that much. 
12. Self care and good communication skills are necessary for everybody.
13. Peer support can be a life saver, both for family members and people living with a mental health challenge.
14. Never give up hope!

Important Info:
Helpful Links:
Hope Is Real! Blog - hopepersists.com
Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network - gmhcn.org
National Alliance on Mental Illness - nami.org
The Hearing Voices Network USA - hearingvoicesusa.org
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Helpful Phone Numbers:
Decatur Peer Support and Wellness Center Warmline: 404-371-1414
Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) - 1-800-715-4225
Benefits Navigator Sally Atwell (Free Resource Person for How to Go Back To Work While on SSDI) - 404-350-7589

*If you ever need to call the police, request a CIT officer