Fairview Range’s Medical Director of Behavioral Health, Dr. Glen Rebman, DO answers your questions.
Are you concerned about a loved one and their mental health? With around 30% of people unaware of their mental health disorder, it can often fall on family and friends to spot signs. If you do notice something is amiss, you may feel lost, overwhelmed, or unsure how to help. We sat down with Fairview Range’s Medical Director of Behavioral Health, Dr. Glen Rebman, DO to help you navigate the complex world of mental health.
What are the signs of a mental illness?
The biggest sign is an overall change in behavior or routine. For example, your loved one might stop leaving the house or showing up for work. In addition, you might notice your loved one disengaging from family and friends. If the person is not acting like their usual self, it could be a sign of mental health.
One of the most common areas of life to be affected by mental health issues is sleep. Many mental health problems cause people to either sleep too little or sleep too much. Sleep is an integral part of our wellbeing.
A red flag that should get your attention is when someone speaks about being hopeless and mentioning wanting to die. You might hear a loved one say that the family would be better off if they were dead. This is a common distorted thought that arises in mental health crises.
Remember, all of us face changes in our behaviors and moods. This does not mean you are having mental health issues. It’s when these changes are out of the norm and continuous that someone may need help.
How do you approach talking to someone about their mental health?
It starts with being loving and non-judgemental. Tell them you’re here for them no matter what and let them know you love them. Be honest and state your concerns based on what you’ve seen. Then listen. Provide them an open space to share what’s going on. Also, don’t disappear if the going gets tough. Half of Americans will have mental health or substance use disorder issues in their lifetime, so these are common struggles.
What resources do you recommend to learn more about mental health illnesses?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has wonderful info for patients and families. You can research different conditions and find advice on how to manage as a loved one.
Another great place to find support groups and psychiatrists is the American Psychiatric Association.
I want to get my loved one help but I’m nervous about the cost?
This is a challenge in our field. While 60% of psychiatrists do not accept insurance, there are ways to help navigate the costs. Larger systems and institutions work with insurance companies. Oftentimes, outpatient clinics that take cash have sliding scale options or charity services. Don’t let money keep you from getting help. There are insurance plans out there on the healthcare exchange and Medicaid for the low-income and unemployed.
While the fear of costs can prevent someone from getting help, timing is important. The sooner someone with signs of a mental illness receives help, the faster we can identify and resolve it. Getting treatment early makes a big difference with any health issue and that also applies to mental health.
What are the best ways to support someone with a mental illness?
You do not need to be their doctor or their therapist. That is our job.
The best thing you can do is be supportive. Support is so important to those facing mental health battles. Letting them know you’re there for them and care about them is a great first step.
Often, people with a mental health illness will take it out on those closest to them. They will act out on family and friends and behave unlike their usual selves. This can be hard to experience.
While this may make it difficult for family and friends to hang in there, it is the most important factor to overcoming mental health issues. Simply showing your support and being there is huge. We see a big difference in progress between those who have support systems and those who don’t. It may feel trying but your concern and care do matter.
Why is family or loved ones pivotal to proper care?
Family is pivotal in getting access to care and health history. We’ll talk to the family or loved ones to gather the whole story and understand previous care.
Mental health can put stress on the whole family. Mental health experts know this and have experience with it. We can help you navigate the ins and outs of helping someone you love deal with a mental illness.
What if my loved one needs to be hospitalized?
Our hospital offers a supportive, short-term environment for adults who are in a mental health crisis. Fairview Range is a smaller hospital, which means there are fewer patients in one area. While the size is smaller, our connection to M Health Fairview enhances our ability to deliver state-of-the-art care. We have a multi-disciplinary group of staff. We offer a lot of group activities and therapy and have access to individual therapy on a limited basis. Our priority is making sure every person leaves our facility with a safe plan in place.
We’re also actively working toward embracing more technology in the mental health space and bringing it to our facility in the future.
What should I do if someone I know is having a mental health crisis?
If you believe someone’s life is in danger, call 911.
Beginning July 16, 2022, the new three-digit dialing code 988 will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (The current Lifeline phone number: 1-800-273-8255 – will always remain available to people in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, even after 988 is launched.)
To inquire about outpatient mental health services at Fairview Range, give us a call at 218-362-6937.
Remember mental illness is a complex issue. As a loved one’s support system, you cannot fix everything or solve all their problems. Simply being supportive is a huge step in helping someone you care about combat mental illness.