Support Group Recap

Jan 13

We spent most of this month’s meeting offering support to one of our members who’s dealing with a particularly difficult situation. Thanks to all who attended and offered suggestions and support. Here we share some information that came up during the meeting.

Safety first

When dealing with a loved one who may be violent, safety for yourself and others in your family is the number one priority. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy. When a loved one who has a violent past is being released from care, what do you do? Some suggestions from members:

  • Work closely with the doctor and other members of the treatment team to develop a plan. Express your fears and concerns. Be assertive.
  • When speaking with doctors and others on the support team, present them with scenarios and ask, “If such-and-such happens, what should I do?”
  • Try to set up alternative living arrangements for your loved one. Is there somewhere else your loved one can stay?
  • Plan for the worst-case scenario, possibly contacting local police to draw up some sort of contingency plan. Let the police know that if an incident occurs, your loved one needs medical treatment, not incarceration.
  • Enlist the assistance of family, friends, and neighbors who may be able to provide a safe haven for younger family members, at least temporarily.
  • If your loved one with violent tendencies will be returning to school, notify  the school and seek assistance from school counselors to be sure an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is in place.

Support for children and teenagers with mental illness

Children and teenagers with mental illness may need to spend time in treatment centers away from home.  A few options include the following:

  • Gibault serves children with mild emotional disturbances, aggressive and oppositional behaviors, substance abuse issues, victims and perpetrators of physical and sexual abuse, learning disabled children, and children with a variety of clinical issues in residential and detention environments. Gibault has several locations, including Terre Haute, which is probably the closest to Crawfordsville.
  • White’s Residential & Family Services is Indiana’s largest social services agency offering accredited and comprehensive residential, foster care, independent living, adoption, and home-based services. White’s has several locations, including Wabash, IN, which is probably the closest to Crawfordsville.
  • Larue Carter in Indianapolis may be an option if your child or teenager isn’t responding to treatment at one of the other residential facilities. As one member pointed out, however, getting admitted can be a problem due to the limited number of “beds.”

Local support

Keep in mind that Crawfordsville has several agencies to help individuals and families. In addition to local churches, check out our Groups/Agencies page for additional options. Our Community Mental Health Center is:

Cummins Behavioral Health System, Inc.
701 N. Englewood Drive
Crawfordsville, IN 47933

Andrea Shook, MSW, LCSW
Director of County Operations

Managing finances

Members offered a few suggestions on the topic of managing finances:

  • Prepaid credit cards may be useful as a way to provide a loved one with access to a limited amount of money.
  • You can place a security freeze on credit reports to make it less convenient to obtain credit cards. You need to do it with all three credit reporting agencies, and the freeze can be lifted at any time, so it’s not foolproof, but it does add a hurdle.
  • Volunteers of America offers bill paying and medication management services, but we don’t know if these services are available in Crawfordsville. (This didn’t come up during the meeting, but it’s something I read about.)
  • The Arc of Indiana is a not-for-profit trust fund management organization for people with a host of disabilities. The Arc is more hands-on than other trust fund management services, helping its clients more effectively manage their finances.

Knowing when to step in and when to step back

Family members expressed frustration at not knowing when to step in or step back when they observe signs of trouble.

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