What is a Mental Health Intervention?

When a loved one is struggling with a significant mental health condition, it can be overwhelming for everyone involved. This is especially true if the individual is resistant to help, or in denial, and won’t acknowledge that there is a problem. In these situations, it can be beneficial to perform a mental health intervention. This will not only help those suffering to find the proper treatment, but also offer guidance and support for their families. 

When people hear the word “intervention,” they often associate the term with addiction and substance use disorders. These types of interventions are very common, but at Feinberg Consulting, we also offer mental health interventions. The process for mental health and substance use interventions can have many similarities, but they also entail very different approaches. Although, in both types of intervention, safety is the primary focus for the person of concern before the intervention process can commence. 

It’s critical to remember that an intervention is a process, not necessarily an event; it is an interruption of a path that is full of pain and suffering, providing an opportunity to create a new path towards hope and healing. 

What do the initial steps of a mental health intervention entail?  

The initial step in the mental health intervention process is for our team to meet with family members to gain important information through a comprehensive assessment. This helps in understanding what efforts and strategies have been tried before, what worked and what didn’t work, gaining an understanding of presenting symptoms, the stability of their loved one, and what the barriers were to receiving care. It’s important for us to have a thorough understanding of the situation — we discuss the full history of hospitalizations, any threats or acts of self-harm, history of suicidality, and any medications or previous treatment.  

What types of interventions are performed? 

We perform crisis interventions when the person of concern is considered unstable, and at high risk for self-harm, or fatality. When this is the case, immediate attention is needed to assist in getting the person of concern to a safe place for stabilization. Stabilization is necessary before a long-term treatment plan can be implemented. 

When someone is experiencing significant symptoms from a thought disorder, stabilization is typically done in a hospital setting. The hospital holds patients for 72 hours when admitted. During this time, the hospital will observe, treat for stabilization, and determine whether a longer period of hospitalization is needed. Since hospitals do not define “stable” as being completely free of symptoms, a patient could be released even if they are still having some delusional thinking. Therefore, it’s extremely important to have the right team to ensure continuity of care once released.  

We also perform formal interventions. This is when our team works with the family on how to engage with their loved one, without enabling their current behavior, in order to implement a plan for healing. When we meet with the person of concern, it may be by invitation, or completely unexpected. We work with families to determine which approach will be best for their loved ones.  

Despite the type of intervention being performed, the team approach is critical. At Feinberg Consulting, this includes a lead interventionist, a clinical manager, a case manager, and at times, a coach or companion. Additionally, family members and/or close friends are included as a part of the support team.  

What to expect during the process? 

Our team works closely with each other, in processing and planning the best path to take for the intervention/treatment process, for the families that we support. We research the optimal treatment providers, listen to concerns, answer any questions, and walk them through their options. The number of treatment options available depends on the circumstances, as “no one plan fits all.”  

Once the decision has been made on where the family would like their loved one to be treated, we step in to ensure that all the pieces fall into place. We coordinate with health professionals on all aspects of the treatment plan (therapy, medication, etc.), and offer guidance and support for families through coaching. 

Our approach creates a loving, dignified, and non-shaming environment. When it comes to interventions and family support, we believe that communication is key. When a loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, the family may threaten to “cut them off” financially, etc., if they do not quit using. When it comes to mental health, this approach doesn’t always fit.  Our team can help determine the best method of communication between families and their struggling loved ones. We aim to simplify the process, help to repair relationships, and navigate the path to healing.  

Are you or a loved one in need of help? 

Are you or a loved one struggling with an untreated mental health condition? At Feinberg Consulting, our team is here to help perform interventions, coordinate care, and offer support and guidance on the path to hope and healing. 

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