Optimal Treatment for Optimal Wellness
The mission of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance is to provide hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders. In alliance with this mission, DBSA values community, inspiration, wisdom, and responsibility. The mission and values of DBSA serve to drive the organization's stance on many urgent mental health concerns. As a leading voice on depression and bipolar disorder issues, DBSA identifies the significant issues surrounding individual mental health wellness regimens, crisis prevention and management, and treatment rights as essential priorities for DBSA to address.
DBSA represents a balanced voice, reflecting our belief that all people should have access to whatever type of treatment they determine best, in partnership with their clinicians, to achieve their wellness goals. Further, individuals may include trusted and supportive family or friends who prioritize the individual’s best interests in conversations regarding their wellness regimens.
Most individuals find all or a combination of the following treatment options helpful: therapy, medication or technological treatments, a strong support system including peer support, and personal wellness strategies. DBSA advocates education on the part of the individual and their support network. To facilitate this, DBSA provides quality materials on personal experiences, wellness tools and strategies, and information on symptoms and signs of depression and bipolar disorder that bring the human experience to the fore.
DBSA believes the following:
Individuals should direct their treatment whenever possible, both before and during hospitalization. Individuals should be as proactive as possible before a crisis or hospitalization to ensure adherence to their wishes should the need arise. Individuals should become knowledgeable about local hospitals or other treatment options and about the state laws regarding admittance and release.
Mental health education programs should prioritize information and resources to help individuals write crisis management plans, create advance directives, and understand the legal process for assigning power of attorney. DBSA supports the individual's decisions and wishes which dictate appropriate steps to avoid a crisis or hospitalization, as well as preferences regarding hospitalization alternatives. To foster positive outcomes, all crisis management documents should be shared with a trusted family member and other appropriate medical/legal personnel.
DBSA supports the right of individuals to leave a treatment facility if they do not pose a threat to themselves or others. When exercising this right, DBSA strongly encourages individuals to leave a treatment facility with a written treatment plan that includes referral and access to continuing mental health care and professionals, as well as resources on community and peer support group networks.
Involuntary hospitalization should be a last resort. DBSA acknowledges that there are times when an individual may not be capable of making appropriate treatment decisions due to acute symptoms of a mood disorder, or that the individual may pose an immediate danger to themselves or to others. In such instances, involuntary hospitalization may be a life-saving course of action that protects against the tragedy of suicide and enables the individual to regain a sense of hope.
DBSA supports increased funding, ongoing training, and access to current resources for police, emergency response teams, and emergency room personnel to better prepare and enable them to respond to mental health related crises in ways that preserve and ensure the individual’s dignity and rights. Further, responses to mental health crises should be expeditious and appropriate for the immediate safety of the individual.
Too often, individuals in crisis do not have an advance directive or crisis plan. To ensure optimal wellness outcomes, there is urgent need for dialogue regarding ways that trusted, supportive, and educated family can alleviate some of the feelings of frustration and helplessness that occurs in the absence of a crisis management plan. All parties—individuals, loved ones, police, emergency room personnel, hospital and treatment facility decision-makers—need to be at the table in conversation. DBSA recognizes that the rights of the individual on treatment decisions should be kept at the forefront of the ongoing conversation.
Understanding Hospitalization for Mental Health (for Patients)
References1. Bergeson, Sue. (2011) Cost Effectiveness of Using Peers as Providers.
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