Jessica: Mental Healthcare Resources

Initially, Diane had difficulty finding the right medication; it took ten years before she felt balanced. She initiated self-care practices to improve her management of her bipolar disorder and for many years, regularly saw a therapist. When the children were younger, Diane participated in both couples and family therapy and she currently sees her psychiatrist once a year.

Now that she is on Medicare, the cost of her prescriptions has increased. Jessica and her sister will figure out something for their mother to do to help out, such as babysitting, so they can give Diane extra money. Her sister paid for her mother’s long-term care insurance, while Jessica paid her mother’s cell phone bill. They want their mother to stay healthy and be able to afford medications. Jessica reflected that many people do not have the kind of support her mother had and also that her mother was lucky to find a medication that worked for her.

She believes that family members need more attention from the healthcare system“I think there’s definitely a deficiency in the amount of support that the family members of people living with bipolar get.” Jessica noted differences in treatment of bipolar disorder“I’ve seen people be really well managed with their bipolar and I’ve seen people be way over medicated and I’ve seen people not being medicated at all.” She talked about the stigma often associated with mental illness that contributes to a fear of sharing one’s story, even successful stories and expressed concern about how low expectations for people living with mental illness may impact self-esteem.