Tips For You
STARTING POINTS FOR THE JOURNEY
At times it can be confusing and even overwhelming to find help for yourself or family member. As people who have used Mental Health, Developmental Disability and Drug and Alcohol services for ourselves or our family members, we have identified some strategies that we find helpful. We listed a few of these below including our rights as we seek help. We hope that this provides some good starting points as you begin or continue your journey.
#1 STRATEGY: EDUCATE YOURSELF!
Some of the best ways to get information and supports:
- Find and communicate with people who have experienced similar issues.
- Join or connect with a support group – many groups offer support over the phone or online.
- Use the library and the internet to access information and the latest research (libraries offer internet access). The sites we have listed in the resource section are just portholes to what is available. Be careful to use reputable websites and look for accreditations.
- Contact an advocacy organization or professional. Their knowledge is often very specialized and comprehensive.
#2 STRATEGY: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
The right to have your needs, wishes, values, beliefs, and experiences respected.
The right to be listened to and taken seriously.
The right to set your own priorities, goals, treatment, and to make your own choices.
The right to say NO without feeling guilty.
The right to say, “I don’t know, I don’t understand, or I don’t care.”
The right to be free from physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and financial abuse.
The right to file complaints, grievances, and appeals.
The right to ask for what you want and get what you pay for.
The right to ask for information from peers, professionals, providers, funding sources, and others.
The right to have your privacy respected.
#3 STRATEGY: NEVER GIVE UP!
Our experience has been that there is a solution for every problem. Keep searching - the answers will be found!
#4 STRATEGY: ALWAYS SPEAK POSITIVE WORDS OVER YOUR CHILD AND YOURSELF!
There will be teachers, doctors, therapists, professionals and even some family members who say awful, negative things about you or your son or daughter. You make sure you speak positive words about and to your child/teen. Make sure your words bring encouragement and high expectations. People live up to our expectations both positive and negative. Find positive qualities and give lots of praise. Celebrate the differences your child has and allow him or her to express him/herself openly and respectfully. Identify their gifts and talents and support and promote them. So many people are resilient and grow strong and happy because someone believes in them.
If you are an adult who is seeking help or a parent of a child/teen receiving help, follow the same prescription as above. It's important how you see yourself and how you speak about yourself as well. Don't play the awful, negative tapes in your head over and over again, change your stinkin thinkin and be good to yourself!