Support groups for mental illness can be a very effective tool in treating mental illness. Mental illness affects nearly sixty five million Americans today from children to adults. This problem is fast becoming an epidemic that psychiatrists and psychologists alike scramble to identify and treat. Yet this figure in reality barely scratches the surface in regards to actual numbers of those suffering from one form of mental illness or another.
A whopping sixty five million Americans suffer from mental illness today, yet only a small fraction ever receives treatment. This is due largely to the social stigma attached to mental illness. Society as a whole is still not ready to accept those that are mentally ill into the folds of their bosom, and it is doubtful this will change in the near future. The social stigma of the mentally ill being crazy, untrustworthy, and dangerous may be true for a very small number in this population but it is hardly the rule.
Mental illness encompasses a wide variety of disorders from depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, histrionics, Posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety to schizophrenia and psychosis. Because of the fear of being discovered and avoided because they are 'mentally unstable' many suffer from their disorder in painful silence. Silence may be golden but for those who suffer from these disorders in silence it is deafening!
There are several therapies to help treat mental illness, each of which has shown significant benefits. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a talk therapy that guides the patient toward identifying behaviors and attitudes that once recognized can be changed. This therapy is effective in treating about half of all patients who choose this therapy.
Medication therapy is yet another treatment option for the mentally ill. Medications are an excellent tool to utilize to help alleviate some of the symptoms of mental illness. When disturbing symptoms or thought patterns are calmed then redirecting the personís thoughts and behaviors can have an immense effect on helping the person reenter society without the bizarre behaviors they once displayed.
Another very lucrative treatment option for those suffering from a mental illness is support groups. Support groups create a safe environment where the person can meet like peers, discuss concerns, or just listen to advice from the group leader and their peers. Additionally, support groups allow for the interactions and the meeting of new people who may very well have the same or similar mental illness you have.
Lastly, once the person has become comfortable in the group they find themselves looking forward to the weekly meetings. Support groups for mental illness can make a person feel more comfortable than they might otherwise with their counselor because of the confidentiality pact of all the members. Group members and the group leader all pledge their oath to confidentiality and the privacy of the group members.
What this means is that anything you say in the group cannot be discussed with anyone outside the group. This is true for a person's therapist. Even if your therapist were to ask for a written report of the discussions that took place in a meeting they would not get it. Most groups do not keep a written log of group discussions for this very reason. In fact, they only way a group leader might be allowed to notify the persons counselor or law enforcement is if the person indicated they were a danger to themselves or others.