Getting a mental illness diagnosis, or having a close friend or family member receive a diagnosis, can bring about many feelings. Some of these feelings may be fear, anger, sadness, and embarrassment. Mental illness diagnoses are often very positive things because they are the first step to feeling better. Here are some helpful steps to take and keep in mind when receiving a diagnosis.
- You are not alone: This is very important. One in five North Americans will experience a mental illness.
- Learn about your diagnosis: Read and educate yourself with books and other mental health resources.
- It is up to you who to tell: Disclosure about your diagnosis is personal and you do not have to tell people right away (or at all) – you can wait until you feel comfortable and it seems appropriate for you.
- Discuss your treatment options: For some people, medication is not necessary and they can achieve well-being through other means (e.g. talk therapy). Make sure you learn about the various methods available.
- Engage the help of professionals: It is important to seek professional help. Your EFAP can provide you with counselling and educational services.
- Build a social support network: Your therapist, counsellor and doctor are there for you, however it is important to also seek out other support, especially if you are troubled or feel scared by your diagnosis. Family, friends, and online communities can often help you navigate what you need as part of your condition.
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