Need help to find mental health resources
August 23, 2010 10:58 AM   Subscribe

I need advice about resources to help a severely anxious and depressed family member.

A family member has had a history of anxiety and depression. She had seen a therapist for a few years with no apparent improvement.

Recently she applied for and accepted a job position in a foreign country. She flew there last week and ever since the airport departure she was gripped with a severe anxiety. She called home the first day she was there to plea with us to help her return home. She cried everyday and was extremely homesick. We would like for her to at least give it a try for a few weeks or months but chances are she'll go home sooner or later.

If she does come back home, she will have just 2 suitcases of belonging. No home, no car, no job, no money, and no insurance. I have no problem with her staying at my house for a bit until she gets back on her feet. The problem is that over the years her mental illness is progressing to the point of making her non-functional. She needs help beyond what I and other family members can give her. She needs therapy.

Assuming she will consent to this, how can I find her an effective help? Therapy is expensive and she will have no money or insurance.

Below are the steps that I'm thinking of doing. Please let me know if there is anything else that I should do. We are located in the Eastside of Seattle.

1. Get Medicaid and access County mental health
2. Get in touch with local NAMI
3. Try to find sliding scale therapist on psychology today

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.
posted by 7life to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Reseach all local inpatient clinics to find the best one and encourage her to get the medical assistance she needs because, quite frankly, a once a week therapist visit is a placebo at her level of dysfunction. A supportive environment that addresses the biological roots of anxiety and depression as well as teaching her coping skills is what she needs. Several of my friends have used local psych wards, but one friend used a university-affiliated world renown hospital (CAMH) and the difference in care and the access to support was phenomenal.

Do this now, before she wears out her family support and ends up in hospital without an outside advocate.
posted by saucysault at 11:25 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: liketitanic - This job thing is but an example of her level of dysfunction. We would love for it if she sticks it out for a bit longer and finds that she loves the job. But the level of anxiety she has displayed makes us think that we need to be ready.

saucysault - Thank you for the advice. That is exactly what I was looking for. Of course being in the US, there is an added complication of insurance (or the lack of it). I will hit the local inpatient clinics next.

watercarrier - Thanks for the links.
posted by 7life at 2:06 PM on August 23, 2010

If you have an EAP or insurance of your own you may want to look into couple's counselling (yes, I know you are not a couple). It should help you both explore coping skills and being self-aware of your dynamic since you will inevitably have conflicts living together.

I'm sorry the insurance adds to the anxiety.
posted by saucysault at 3:10 PM on August 23, 2010

It sounds like she's a strong candidate for drugs in combination with regular therapy sessions. SSNIs are often effective for both anxiety and depression, although they tend to take a week or two to have any effect, so in a crisis situation, other drugs may be required for a while. This means she needs to see both a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Some (many?) practices have both available.

Amongst those I know who have not found therapy effective, it has come to my attention that they aren't completely honest with their therapists. Encourage her to be completely open with her doctor or therapist.

If you think that she can be trusted to keep appointments in the foreign country, it may not be necessary for her to come back to the US.
posted by wierdo at 11:19 PM on August 23, 2010

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