Caring in this season

The festivities are a special time, even much more special when they coincide with the end of the year. The perfect time for the congratulations, the restart, reset and recharge, the rejuvenation and the optimism. These are things that excite most of us. It’s the end of the year so it’s that time to take stock of all that has happened, but most importantly, to get together with the people you love. Especially those that may need a little more of it; and these are the unwell.

One important thing we ought to appreciate and look out for is that the happiness we share is relative for everyone and not everyone may share in the gladness of heart that comes with the season. Especially those that battle mental ailments.

Family is a mainstay in the caregiving for patients with mental illnesses. The family is able to cater to day-to-day needs of the patients, monitor mental health, and identify signs of poor mental health, relapse and deterioration. And also supervise treatment and give the much needed emotional support.

So we ought to be considerate and take more care of the ailing. There are depressed people and people suffering from all kinds of mental ailments that are veiled and may be difficult to discern for the untrained eye, but then also, there are ways to ensure that season is jolly for everyone if we learn to care for those to whom happiness may not come as easy because they are battling anxiety, depression and other mental ailments. The prevalence of the ailments is higher than we are made to believe, with Uganda ranking among the top six African countries with the highest prevalence. And so there are high chances that we know someone battling some ailment or another.

What family can do to help:

One of the ways is to take the initiative to research or read about mental illnesses so that you have an idea of the struggle, as this may go a long way in ensuring that you’re considerate of the other person’s feelings and that you’re able to help as much as you can to mitigate their suffering.

Mental illnesses may cause psychosocial problems and negatively affect the quality of life of the patient’s family. So it is important to know how far you can go and how much you can do for the person. And this calls for one to be realistic with themselves, you’re better positioned to ask for a professional’s help when need arises to ensure that the best care is given. It’s also important to consider how your actions as a caregiver will affect your own life. Also sharing the caring responsibility with someone else can ensure that the experience doesn’t take a negative toll on you.

Talk openly and encourage honesty

Know the emergency numbers in case the patient requires emergency care. This may come in handy in instances of self-harm.

Happy holidays

 



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