A Support Network are those resources which you have available to you to assist in general or at varying stages of severity of the disorder.
it includes your close social network:
- High School Friend/s
- Parent Club Friend/s
- Sport Team Mate/s
- Church Congregation
- Local Support Group/s
- High School Mum/s (you know the one’s the mum’s whose children you went through school with they can be AWESOME!)
- Work Mate/s
- Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, Religious Teacher or leader.
- Online Support Groups
- Facebook Friends
Those people in your life who you feel comfortable enough to speak to, their formal relationship or “title” in relation to how you know them is not as important as how understanding, approachable, respectful, and tolerant they are.
It includes your Health Care Providers:
- General Practitioner
- Psychiatric Nurse
- Local Psychiatric Triage or Crisis Assessment Team
- Local Emergency Room
- Psychiatric Ward
- Drop in Center
- and the list goes on and on and on….
The people who are Paid either by You or your Insurance Company or Government to provide you the services to assist you in learning to Manage your health and mental health they are there to support you within their professional capacity in achieving your health goals. And the reason I include all health sectors is because it is very important to remember that good health cannot be achieved without good mental health and vice versa, when our physical health is poor our mental health is compromised, a fact which has been evident in almost all studies of mental health amongst cancer, heart disease, asthma, arthritis and diabetes patients.
Support network’s can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the support which is provided. It is possible to enable self destructive behaviour, and promote poor mental health as a support person. It is very important that we recognize what kind of support we receive from those within our support network, is it healthy or unhealthy? do they listen without passing judgement? is the support and advice they give in our best interests and provided with good intentions? even if they don’t entirely understand.
Your support network may include the boy’s down the pub, which would not be conductive to someone trying to kick alcoholism.
Sometimes we do need to clean up our support network. So it helps to sit down and list which resources there are available. How each can help, at what stage they can help, either in the early stages or if and when it reaches a crisis.
Once your Support Network is Identified and you recognize which parts of it are helpful and which less helpful we can use this information to establish a Mental Health Action Plan.