Caring for Mental Health: 6 Resources to Keep Your Eye On

We all know the stats. 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health problem on a personal level in any given year. With the growing prominence of mental illnesses, it indirectly touches millions of people at some point in their life, either personally, through a family member or a close friend. The problem is that it’s become difficult to find adequate information and resources to not only help yourself, but support the people you love who struggle with mental health problems. I’ve put together a short list of six mental health resources that I’ve come across, in which are the most beneficial when it comes to caring for a family member or friend, and still being able to care for myself.

1. CMHA Mental Health Brochures

As a national leader and champion for mental health, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has compiled a collection of easy-to-read brochures covering everything and anything you need to know about mental health. They offer brochures on topics ranging from depression and anxiety, to coping with loneliness and how to get help. They even offer a brochure specifically for “Caring for the Caregiver”, where you can learn tips on caring for yourself, how to care for your loved one, and navigating difficult situations. Resources such as these make it easy for anyone caring for a loved one with mental health issues to access information and resources quickly and confidently. The only catch: each booklet does come at a price. However, it only costs $0.35 per brochure and you can download a 2-page PDF preview with useful information for free! Use these bundles of knowledge to educate yourself on your loved one’s illness and learn how to care for yourself in the process!

Access CMHA’s collection of brochures here.

2. care’n

There’s 300 million family members and friends caring for someone suffering from depression globally. That’s a lot of people providing support, but who’s there to support them? care’n is here to do just that: support the people caring for their friends and family members suffering from depression and/or anxiety.

Operating as a messaging service through Facebook, care’n serves to empower families and friends of those suffering from depression by answering their questions and providing region — pecific mental health resources. Care’n makes a point to let us know that it’s being run by REAL people with REAL experiences in taking care of someone with mental health issues. Rather than relying on software and chatbots, care’n is made up of a team of driven entrepreneurs who answer questions, direct users to research-backed resources and provide support for the people who need it most. It’s a useful tool that’s completely free, targeting a group of individuals that are often forgotten by the current healthcare system. Shoot them a message today!

Learn more about care’n and message them here.

3. Atlas of Caregiving: CareMaps

Atlas of Caregiving wants you to know that you don’t have to be a “caregiver” to benefit from their resources. Regardless of what kind of support you offer, you can use this resource to get better organized and identify the people who are there to help when you need it. CareMaps are designed to help you get through difficult times by visually showing you who can support both you and your loved one struggling with mental health issues. CareMaps can even show you where to look for support before you get caught in a situation that you feel you can’t handle. Basically, you can map out an entire ecosystem of support, made up of friends, family, professionals and organizations. Atlas of Caregiving provides step-by-step instructions on creating your own CareMap using their digital CareMap drawing technology. If you have a friend or family member struggling with a mental illness, or if you’re struggling yourself, creating CareMaps can be very effective in helping manage stressful situations.

Learn more about Atlas of Caregiving’s CareMaps here.

4. National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) covers all aspects of mental health, which includes a section dedicated to the family members and friends of those struggling with mental health issues. NAMI recognizes that mental illness affects not only those suffering, but an entire network of relationships that often play a large supporting role. Regardless of the amount of care you’re giving someone, their resources can be helpful to understand your loved one and yourself. This section of NAMI’s website is very comprehensive, covering common topics and situations that family and friend caregivers may face while providing support. Users can find information on helping your child and family, finding a missing loved one, supporting their recovery, maintaining healthy relationships, caring for yourself, preparing crisis and preventing suicide. No matter your situation or experience with caring for someone struggling with mental health issues, NAMI provides an abundance of valuable information and resources in one convenient place.

Learn more about NAMI here.

5. Supports Health

Right now, there’s over 100 mental health apps, most of which focus on dealing with depression and/or anxiety on a personal level. But, how many of these are focused on providing support to the people caring for them? The answer: not many. Supports Health is here to fill this need by giving support to the family and friends of those suffering from depression. This up-and-coming start-up is creating Canada’s first app to provide access to research-backed programs, information and professional advice safely and securely anywhere, anytime you need it. Drawing on the therapeutic framework of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), users can develop their ability to be present in the moment, handling crisis and stress, how to manage emotions, and social skills, access an AI curated mental health library, and work with their own personal counsellor through video e-counselling. Now people caring for someone struggling with depression can access professionally sourced information at their fingertips! On-the-go, anytime; users will always feel supported and confident when helping out family and friends.

Their app is still in the works, hoping for a release in early 2019. If you or someone you know would benefit from a resource like this, make sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram, or submit your email on their website to stay updated!

Learn more about what Supports Health is all about here.

6. Caregiver Exchange

Family caregivers are often thrown into a supportive position without much experience, preparation or personal support where they find themselves asking, “Where do I go from here?” Caregiver Exchange answers this question by providing caregiver-specific information, services and resources that are often difficult to find in one convenient place. You can access weekly articles covering a wide range of caregiver topics, such as survival tips, how to self-care while caring for others, and true stories from experienced caregivers. If reading articles isn’t your thing, there’s a section dedicated to caregiver videos, which talks about things like self-care, encounters with the health care system, maintaining social connections and messages from healthcare providers.

One of the most powerful tools on the website is their search function, allowing users to find health and community services in Ontario. Simply enter your postal code, or select from a list of regions across Ontario to access various caregiver-specific resources, including crisis lines, caregiver support services and care facilities. The Caregiver Exchange is the perfect place to go when your caregiving journey begins, as an experienced caregiver, or even to find some helpful tips and tricks to improve your own mental health!

Learn more about Caregiver Exchange here.