How long should I wait to get my loved one help?

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Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome to another edition of our video newsletter. In this video, I want to talk to you about how long you should wait before you get your loved one help.

We get a lot of calls from families whose loved ones have been suffering; who have relapses, and that their substance use and mental illness has been coming back.

We are seeing a ridiculous number of people getting baker-acted, and the family asks us what they can do about it or if they should take action. My response is, “The time to take action is now. Don’t wait because substance use and mental illness only get worse with time.” Look, we’re always flattered when a family calls us for help, but nobody knows your loved one better than you do. So when you start to see signs that they’re having problems, the time to act is now. Don’t wait because it just gets worse.

While we have access to a ton of resources, I’m always happy to give people access to it, and I don’t charge to give a referral for a clinician. But I will tell you that one of the best resources we have is NAMI or The National Alliance on Mental Illness; their website is nami.org. I think that this is a great place to start.
If your loved one is refusing to get help, one of the best things you can do potentially is to file for Guardianship and take control of the situation. Get a judge to authorize you to make medical and clinical decisions for them. You need the help of a clinician to help you with those decisions, and we’re not clinicians. I don’t give clinical advice, but what I can tell you is that Guardianship will allow you to make decisions for your loved ones when they can’t make them for themselves.

The Marchman Act is another great tool. If your loved one is having substance use disorder issues, the Marchman Act will allow you to make a treatment decision for your loved one. Guardianship and the Marchman Act are two of the tools we use.

Going back to the Baker Act, do we use it occasionally? Yes, we do. We have a licensed clinical social worker who’s part of our team, and if a Baker Act emergency stabilization is required, then certainly. I’ll contact you with Evan, a licensed clinical social worker that we work closely with. There are other clinicians out there who will also do it for you. If it’s an emergency, call 911. Have law enforcement come to the scene and initiate the Baker Act for you. But do understand that Baker Act is not for treatment; it’s only for emergency stabilization.
The Guardianship and Marchman Act can be initiated after someone’s been baker acted. We understand that people are having a tough time right now. Even as lawyers, I can tell you that we have been trying to be more diligent about our own emotional and mental well-being. We speak to families from all over the country, and it’s exhausting work for us. We’re always flattered when we get a call, but we also have to be careful ourselves. How do we take care of our mental health and emotional well-being? Don’t wait if you notice that your loved ones are having issues. You can reach out to us for some of our resources. NAMI.org is a reliable resource, and I know they help many people.

With that said, don’t wait for your loved ones to get to the tipping point where they need to be baker-acted. Get them to help now.

Take care of yourselves. Be well, and stay safe.

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