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Independence

Most people with mental health issues live independently. Support them by offering them all the options you have for them, and giving them information on the pros and cons. For those that are less independent, empower them to make as many choices for themselves as possible.

  • In a time of crisis, someone might experience an increase in symptoms that might make it difficult for them to make decisions. It can help to offer some downtime and space before acting on some decisions. Many times, you can come back to a decision point later.
  • Allow additional time when working with people with mental health issues.
  • You may need to help support the person when interacting with other systems (housing, medical, legal). Because of the large stigma associated with mental health disabilities, other systems may not want to provide services for someone. Contacting organizations on the Resources page for assistance in securing the person’s rights might be useful.
  • Some people with mental health issues might be more anxious when in groups or in community living situations. Work with them to determine how they can best adjust to group situations. It may be that they prefer one-on-one discussions to a support group, or that they need a private room in a shelter.
  • A person who is sensitive to noises or has fears about security may need to have a lock on the door (or some other way of securing their possessions) or ear plugs. Simple changes like this can increase comfort for everyone.