The Importance of Social Networks in Mental Health Recovery

  Far too commonly accompanying a mental breakdown, is total isolation and alienation from one's former social network; such an environment of loneliness and detachment is far from conducive to mental health recovery. The development of strong, progressive, and proactive social networks is instrumental for those suffering from a mental illness of any kind. Interestingly, the three major recovery-based nations (the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand) have all adopted rather differing takes on the role of social networks in mental wellness.

American practitioners host a Clubhouse approach to developing social networks for mental healthcare consumers. This generally means providing an environment where consumers can retire to for communal grouping activities. The environment is generally seen as a 'safe' place, which offers support and guidance for those on the path to recovery. While some mental healthcare consumers argue such an environment is beneficial yet they would rather surround themselves with a group of people doing something rather than simply conversing, others contest that this is a place to find those on the road to recovery who are doing just that; bettering themselves through a group effort. Such arguments are supported by the view that while low-functional consumers may not be very active initially, as one progresses to higher level functionality so too does one's contribution and efforts.

Additionally, the club houses provide an escape. They allow mental healthcare consumers to develop a social network of empathetic individuals working towards the same means while simultaneously keeping said individuals away from prior environments wherein they were likely to buy drugs, drink, etc. All of this is accomplished while offering services such as therapy, medication, educational services, exercise rooms, music rooms, employment coaching, and employment opportunities. Because American mental health consumers are so often alienated from their birth-right families, such club houses are instrumental in the formation of a new social network and have proven to be very successful in empowering those with mental illnesses to get back on their feet after a sever breakdown.

The United Kingdom's approach to developing social networks is rooted in a culture of support; club houses are not seen as necessary because abandonment is far less common. Instead, the U.K. spends less time emphasizing finding the right combination of medications and instead focuses upon peer mentoring and support Practitioners believe social guidance is key to mental health recovery, and consequently steer away from invasive psychotherapy, relying on, in its place, peer-to-peer empathetic relationships conducive to recovery and social support.

New Zealand practitioners take on a rather unique view of social responsibility in enabling social networks due to the rather alarming rate of mental illnesses occurring among the nation's ethnic natives. New Zealand officials believe imperialism and former racism unfairly and unjustly impacted the native population to a huge extent, and thus it is the responsibility of society and the government to support the recovering minority population in financial development, employment procurement, and the development of social networks. This obligatory support from the government has likely created a situation wherein it is a cultural expectation to be supportive, and is far from socially acceptable to practice familial abandonment over a mental illness.

Social networks play a critical role in mental health recovery. In America, the Clubhouse Model provides a place for rehabilitation, re-training, job coaching, employment, and the formation of social networks. In the United Kingdom, social networks are familial, rather than their peer-based counterparts in America, and it is a social obligation to aid those in need. New Zealanders extend the U.K.'s social obligation into government directives in the formation of social networks of support, making mental health recovery more about racial discrimination and ethnicity rather than innate conditions.

Each cultural interpretation has its own strengths and weaknesses, but regardless of the focus, the fact is a strong, supportive, proactive, and encouraging social network that supports self-improvement rather than the return of old habits is critical in recovery from a mental illness.

If you are a wide reader, you have probably encountered a lot of interesting stories about the plenty of reports related to mental health concerns among many individuals at present. There are actually no established reasons as to why these occurrences happen but recent studies relate to present economic status, family and society issues, and work associated concerns as the main culprits for the increase of mental health related cases. Now if you have been diagnosed by a qualified medical practitioner as to suffering from a mental condition, most probably you would need to seek assistance from a mental health therapist.

Mental health therapists are those qualified professionals who have gained enough knowledge both educational and practical related to mental health issues. In your search, you have to consider the qualification and professional attitude of the mental health professional. In addition to these, searching for someone who can help you resolve your mental health condition would need a lot of vital factors to consider.

This would include a reputable background and proven successful record in terms of resolving issues that are similar to yours. Different mental health therapists have dissimilar experiences in terms of dealing with patients. This results to expertise in different cases. This is main reason why you should choose someone who is proficient in treating mental conditions similar to yours. It is also essential that you seek information on how the professional treats the condition such as the methods used and how many times each week are appointments arranged. It is also crucial that you find out the amount of fee and the method it is charged is it per session or a full package? This will help you prepare financially and also find out if the certain mental therapists' fee is within your budget.

Now, you also have to remember that you are not looking for a confidante, so there is no reason for you to choose someone who is friendly. Remember that you need to find someone who knows how to put the limits about the patient-therapist relationship. With regards to this, you have to consider someone who can really help treat your condition and not merely someone to talk about it. You need results and you have to be firm on this.

In case you have chosen a mental health therapist to help you, try to be keen and observant during your initial visit. If you are quite uncomfortable with the therapist there is no reason for you to move on to another session. You might find it sensible to start searching for another since you are not at ease with your first choice of mental health therapist.

Choosing ideal mental health therapists is entirely based on your preference. Coming up with the wrong initial choice does not mean that you should stick with your choice. You can always have the option to change your mind. Remember that you are doing this to be able to get the best treatment possible for your mental health condition.


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