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Expert: During hard times, people need more contact and support

Jul 26 2016

When things go wrong in someone else’s life, your first instinct might be to back away and give them some space. However, a mental health expert notes that during hard times, people need more support and contact with people around them.

“One of the most important things to do to help a loved one who may be suffering with a mental health problem is to continue to be present for them and yourself, ” according to Eugene Johnson, President of Resilience, Inc. and a speaker at Aetna’s 2016 Behavioral Health Summit.  “When someone is having trouble, you can help them by listening, being available, being loving, being respectful and being compassionate.”

Johnson provided his insight at a Behavioral Health summit hosted by Aetna. The summit brought together subject matter experts from Aetna, as well as those from medical and academic fields, to discuss mental health problems affecting our communities. The 2016 summit focused on the shortage of behavioral health practitioners, which poses a challenge to ensure patients receive effective health care.

Johnson’s work has focused on helping individuals segue from mental health distress to empowered people with better futures. Since 1999, he has created 53 programs in 23 communities in the United States and two countries abroad in the areas of crisis response services, facility-based crisis and diversion services, respite, peer support and peer-run services, recovery education, supported employment, supported housing, homeless services, and substance use detox. In 2014, Johnson, together with his life partner, Dr. Lori Ashcraft, established Resilience, Inc., bringing their experience to organizations seeking to implement and embed recovery principles and practices in their services.

Anyone who may be concerned about a loved one or friend can find resources online like the National Institute of Mental Health. If you think you need some help, here are a few tips for making the first step toward feeling better.