Ways to get mental health support in conjunction to or instead of mainstream mental health services:
- Library books about mental health.
- An environmental physician or functional medicine doctor to find underlying physical roots.
- Peer support groups (in person or online)
- Support from charities.
- Private therapy or seeing a private psychiatrist with a good reputation.
- Following mental health accounts on social media.
- Peer mentoring
- Free therapy from organizations.
- Support from family and friends.
- Doing your own research on how to manage your struggles.
- Using sensory aids, lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation, or supplements.
- Finding healthy coping mechanisms and activities that calm you.
- Finding helplines specific to your struggles.
- Attending mental health workshops by organizations.
Why is awareness of other management strategies needed?
Waiting times to be seen by mainstream mental health services can be extremely long. A person often cannot get an appointment for months or more. People need support during that time. As well as this, mainstream mental health services often do not pay attention to the role of inflammation in mental illness. Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, OCD and more have been related to inflammation (not just in PANS/PANDAS). For some people, finding triggers for this inflammation and addressing them can reduce psychiatric symptoms. Managing poor mental health can sometimes take more than therapy and medication. Lifestyle changes may be involved as well.
Some mainstream mental health services may mainly offer medication, which can be helpful to some people but may not be enough on it's own and can have severe side-effects in some cases. Some people also just prefer non-pharmaceutical interventions which is valid! This is why awareness of other approaches is needed.
Some people may have been failed by mainstream mental health services in the past, therefore may feel hesitant to get involved with these services again. It is important for these people to know that there is still hope, and that being failed by mainstream services doesn't mean that no support is available.
However the part about seeing a therapist or psychiatrist in the private sector isn't possible for everyone as this can be expensive and access to private medical care is a privilege. Therefore it is just important for people under mainstream mental health services to know that it is okay to ask reception / care coordinators for a new doctor or therapist if the current one isn't helping enough.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a medical professional, this is NOT to be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a qualified physician, this is to be used for educational purposes only. For medical advice, please see a medical practitioner. I do NOT claim to treat, cure or mitigate any condition.