The Importance of Family Support: Winter Newsletter 2020
Being There: The Importance of Family Support
“My message to family members is - continue to show up for your loved ones and don’t give up”
- Alikah Adair, Family Support Specialist with NAMI Baltimore
When Alikah Adair decided to become a Family Support Specialist with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Baltimore in late 2019, she couldn’t have known how essential family support would become in the year ahead. She had been working with NAMI for over a decade as a Peer Support Specialist but decided to transition to family support when her focus shifted from her own recovery to supporting her son. I interviewed Alikah to discuss how family members and friends can support their loved ones this winter.
As an instructor withNAMI Family-to-Family, Alikah helps family members build their coping and problem-solving skills to better support loved ones living with mental illness. If you are concerned about a loved one, just being there for them and regularly checking in is one of the most important things you can do.
Here are some more tips from Alikah on how to support your loved ones through the winter:
Just be there – Regularly check in. Don’t be afraid to discuss grief, fear and the challenges you’re facing. Being open and communicative can help create a trusting and safe home environment as well as relationship.
Maintain routines – Having a structured routine is really important for people living with mental illness. Help your loved one create and stick to a manageable routine that works for them. This can help them feel like they’ve accomplished something, even if that’s only taking a shower or getting out of bed.
Plan quality time – Intentionally spending meaningful time together as a household is an important way to combat feelings of isolation. Make a nice meal, play a game with the whole family, or plan a family movie night. If you do not live with your family or friends, schedule time to spend with them remotely and find creative ways to interact from afar, such as a group game like Among Us.
Respect boundaries – Respect your family member’s need for personal space and time to themselves. Respecting boundaries is important for healthy relationships
Take care of yourself - Reach out to other family members and friends to support your own mental health. Make time for self-care.
Get additional help if you need it – Call the Here2Help Hotline at 410 433 5175 for 24/7 access to support, whether you are looking for a therapist for your loved one or you need help from a clinician to deal with a crisis. Take NAMI’s Family-to-Family 8 week course to connect with other family members. Encourage your loved one toconnect with peer support, if they are ready.
A Special Thank You to the Baltimore Behavioral Health Provider Community
This video is a special Thank You to the behavioral health providers who have continued to show up for the people of Baltimore throughout this pandemic. Your bravery, commitment and sacrifices are recognized and appreciated. This video includes a thank you from Dr. Aliya Jones, Deputy Secretary of Behavioral Health for the Maryland Department of Health and Mayor Brandon Scott. The video also includes a slide show of provider photos.
Tips for Emotional Health and Wellness
In April we shared a variety of tips to support emotional health and wellness during the pandemic. As we enter the ninth month of this crisis, it's essential to remember to prioritize taking care of your mental health. Quarantine fatigue is real; this prolonged period of stress is mentally taxing. We have a few updated wellness tips and suggestions as we enter the winter:
Try to go outside during the day – Try to spend a few minutes outside every day, even if it’s cold. If you are working from home, set up your space near a window.