Having a discharge plan

  • keep seeing your psychiatrist regularly and consider seeing a psychologist or other counsellor additionally > talking about your problems regularly can help you stay on track with your treatment plan and remain calmer with regard to life stressors
  • keep taking your medications as prescribed by your psychiatrist and ask questions if you have concerns regarding their effectiveness or side-effects
  • avoiding non-prescription drugs and alcohol that may negatively impact your treatment plan
  • talking to your support network: be honest with others around you; have the courage to tell them about your situation
  • seek additional interim support from your work or other jobs to reduce your daily stress and responsibilities
  • ask your psychiatrist for a referral to a social worker or discharge co-ordinator in order to identify additional local support groups, outpatient support/therapy groups or other counselling services that may be accessible

Implementing coping strategies

  • try to plan just one goal a day that is manageable and achievable
  • focus on maintaining social contact with others – spend time with people that you find supportive
  • gradually plan and reintroduce regular additional activities, especially those that you find pleasurable. Perhaps you could go for a walk, share a coffee with a friend, sit in the sun outside in the breeze or just look at the glowing sunset over the horizon to relax your body and rejuvenate.
  • focus on increasing your daily exercise, even if it just means walking comfortably around your local park – exercise not only increases endorphins to help improve mood, but has also been shown to help reduce physical symptoms of anxiety and improve overall levels of energy
  • find some strategies for relaxation, whether by yoga, meditation, gentle stretching or another technique that works for you

Minimising and managing stressors or conflict

  • try not to avoid jobs that will ultimately cause ongoing stress if left unaddressed long-term
  • seek help to problem solve and strategise if this will help you take steps towards simplicity and organisation

Monitoring your symptoms

  • Often our friends and family closest to us can be the first to notice ‘red flags’ or early warning signs that may indicate early deterioration.  They may also be the best people to assist in making decisions to seek further help or clinical guidance to manage your illness optimally.  Friends and family are also usually those who are understanding and supportive to help through times of difficulty, both physically with activities of daily living as well as mentally for reassurance and positive outlook.

Setbacks and challenges

Having the courage to ask for help when things go wrong