What can I do to stay mentally well if I have a mental health problem?

All of the suggestions in the section ‘What can I do to stay mentally well?’ are relevant to everyone, regardless of whether you have a mental health problem or not. However, here are some tips that are directly relevant to maintaining your mental wellbeing if you have a mental health diagnosis.

Be involved in your treatment

If you have a mental health problem, being involved in your treatment can help you stay well. Research shows that the more involved you are in decisions about your treatment, the more likely you are to recover from a mental health problem. Any mental health professional you see should discuss your treatment options with you, and you have the right to be involved in the decision-making process at every stage in your treatment.

Even if you are receiving compulsory treatment under the Mental Health Ordinance Hong Kong, your doctor should discuss different treatment options with you and take your preferences into account when making a decision about your treatment. However, under compulsory treatment, the doctor in charge of your treatment can override your preferences if they think another treatment is the most appropriate one for your mental health problem at the time

Manage your medication

If you are on medication, it is important to learn to manage this in a way that works for you. For example, if your medication makes you feel drowsy, you may want to ask your doctor if you could take it in the evening.

Or you may find that you feel better if you avoid alcohol or certain foods.

“I start the day with meds to make sure I make it through the day, then listen to my children and give them a hug.”

If you experience side effects because of your medication, you should discuss this with your doctor or psychiatrist. They can help you decide whether to continue taking the medication and give you advice about how to manage any side effects.

If you want to come off medication, make sure you know all the pros and cons of doing so and how best to do it carefully. Get as much information and support as possible.

Tell people what helps

Different things work for different people when they are unwell. Telling your friends, family and any medical or social care professionals what works for you can help them understand what you need if you become ill. For example, you may want to let your doctor know that a particular therapy or medication has worked for you in the past. Or, you may want to tell your friends and family that it helps to talk through your feelings or that you prefer to be left alone.

You may also want to make a crisis plan, or advance decision, to tell people what you want to happen if you are in crisis. This can help reduce stress and address any worries about what will happen to you or your family if you become ill.

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