Author Topic: Mustachian mental health?  (Read 1367 times)

WanderLucky

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Mustachian mental health?
« on: October 26, 2018, 10:56:22 PM »
I have a mentally ill friend who is talking about suicide. She's a U.S. citizen, but currently living overseas and going through a nasty divorce there. For multiple reasons, she has not been able to get help where she is and yet won't come back to the U.S. because she says she can't get help here either. The few family members she has who will talk with her are deeply religious and tell her that her problems are all because she left the church and that she needs to come back to the church, otherwise they will not help her. She has a very small amount of money from social services, but that ends soon because of the divorce (immigration issue).

I'm trying to research and brainstorm ways that I can help her and it's not looking hopeful. There just aren't many resources available for people with no money, and if there are then I can't seem to find them. I will give her what money I can, but I don't have much either, and right now I'm not sure what she'd even do with it. If I did find enough help to convince her to come back to the U.S. she would be starting from scratch - finding a place to live, having money for food, and needing intense counseling, therapies and possibly medication.

Does anyone know of any resources or have ideas for how she could eventually get the help she needs? What about certain places that have decent inexpensive resources? One idea I had was to help her find a clinical trial for PTSD (her main issue) sufferers. I did find some but even if she got in, that's only one aspect of her issues, not to mention that she still needs a place to live. It doesn't help that she has become highly suspicious of just about all of her old friends and has burned a lot of bridges. I also have considered that maybe she just needs to go to a LCOL area, get a part-time, stress-free job somewhere that offers benefits (Is this even a thing? Starbucks? Lowe's? etc; ) and slowly try to build her life back. But I don't think she's healthy enough to even do that right now. In fact, she's seems so out of it and exhausted that I'm not even sure how she'll be able to travel. She is giving up.

 I've been thinking about this for months and am kind of at a loss. Maybe someone out there has some fresh ideas?

lollylegs

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2018, 03:13:33 AM »
What country is she in?

Freedomin5

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2018, 04:10:20 AM »
The fact that sheís been talking about suicide for months and hasnít done anything to herself is hopeful. It means she is reaching out for help.

Thatís being said, you canít do much for her if youíre not in the same country as she is, except be a listening ear. If she is currently living in a developed country, try to get in touch with a trusted mutual friend (or not even a mutual friend, just one of her friends) who live there and see if she is severe enough to be taken to a local hospital. Developed countries will have programs for people with suicidality and major depression. Giving her money is kind of useless. She needs emotional and social suppor, in addition to the other stuff you listed.

bugbaby

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2018, 04:11:10 AM »
Are there children involved? If so, that needs to be priority for her.

If not, can you let her stay with you for a bit?

When I was in her situation abroad, my friend invited me to move back to US and stay at his house. That's what gave me the courage to leave.

She needs baby steps. She needs a place of nurturing without pressure until she has strength to take the second step.

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Rosy

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2018, 08:32:41 AM »
Are there children involved? If so, that needs to be priority for her.

If not, can you let her stay with you for a bit?

When I was in her situation abroad, my friend invited me to move back to US and stay at his house. That's what gave me the courage to leave.

She needs baby steps. She needs a place of nurturing without pressure until she has strength to take the second step.


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A THOUSAND TIMES YES to what babybug said. Those three sentences are what it comes down to in a nutshell.

The starting over part is hard and scary enough without being near a mental breakdown. Nasty divorces leave their mark on the best and most stable of us. People do reach their limits and it takes a while to sort yourself out. I went through something similar when I was 48, arrived with two suitcases and started over in the US. It can be done with a little help to get settled and with a place to stay. It took me an entire year to become fully functional again.

Her best bet is to return to the US and recoup her sanity - slowly - on her own. Unless she's a Vet who can get help with PTSD through the VA I don't know of a single helpful program in the US.

First, solve the issue of housing. Could you have her stay with you say for one month during which you help her get things like a basic cell, food stamps, paperwork like DL and a bank acct. Basic settling in kind of stuff that most likely will be hard to deal with for her.
Go with her to appointments, she needs you to steer her and very important, follow through and follow up - very difficult to do when you're in a dark place.

Money - housing is critical.
The second month - is it possible for her to get an efficiency apartment in your area that she could afford if you pitch in with the rent for say three months?, or pay her first and last and 50% of the rent for two months, until she has a job? while she builds up a bit of strength and finds a low-stress job?

From my own experience, I can tell you that it was healing and critical to have a place of my own, where you can just shut the door. It was exactly that fear of losing my apartment and knowing that there was no way I could find the money to pay first and last month of rent, never mind deposit on utilities is what kept me (barely) functioning.
I knew if I could just manage to hold on to my place and slowly build my life I just might be OK.

Incredibly helpful to my "recovery" if you want to call it that was having a balcony where I could just sit in the sun, drink coffee and do nothing. Just looking at the trees swaying in the wind was soothing and all I wanted, needed and could handle.
 
I was lucky enough to be within walking distance of a grocery store, (a mile one way) thrift stores and a bunch of small shops as well as a bus stop. Needing groceries got me out of the house and later when I felt better I'd hang out at the Thrift store...
Time heals - even if it doesn't feel that way while you are going through turmoil.

You sound like you are ready to throw her a lifeline - if she's ready and desperate enough she'll take it. You can only help and support if she wants it and is ready and able to do her part.
There is a new and wonderful life waiting for her if she decides to go for it.

WanderLucky

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2018, 10:46:29 AM »
Thank you for the responses so far. To answer more of the questions (and tell more of the story), she is in Germany right now. I think she went there specifically to try to get help (hearing that they had good services) and to escape our region, and she got herself into a worse situation with a guy she met there (her now soon to be ex). Thankfully, no children involved. Because of the pending divorce and because of a lot of bureaucratic mishaps, she had trouble getting help. She had been admitted to hospitals there and finally got into a trauma clinic specializing in sexual trauma. But her time is up at the clinic ($) and she has to leave. And she says it didn't help and now she's in an even worse place emotionally, especially with the divorce impending that will take away her entire safety net there with social services.

I had invited her to stay with me over the summer and she refused for a few reasons. First is that she won't come back to this particular region because it's where she had a violent attack happen and it's part of her PTSD issues. Second was because the area I had been living in was far from the actual city where she could actually get services and she didn't want to feel trapped there. I still think she should have taken me up on the offer but at that point she wasn't able to listen to reason and I still don't think she is. And now I'm in a studio apartment with my partner while getting ready to live in another foreign country and it's not a situation I can invite her into. I don't think she would do it anyway.
So yes, if I could think of good place for her to be (Low to medium COL town, walking distance to groceries, eventual access to counseling services, access to some kind job eventually) I could probably help get her set up in a small apartment. It would have to be a place convincing enough to get her here though. And based on past conversations with her, I think the therapy would need to happen ASAP too.

I don't know any of her friends in Germany and I've been trying to reach out to mutual friends here to help. In fact, that's how I got involved. I hadn't talked to her in 3 years when a mutual friend called me to help talk with her. Unfortunately she has burned bridges with just about every one of our mutual friends. Like I mentioned, she is extremely paranoid right now and blaming everyone and the world for what is happening to her. She says I'm the only one left who will still talk with her. I have to remind myself a lot that she is mentally ill and to be patient with her, but I just feel like I'm out of options to offer her. Just to stress this, she is not just severely depressed, but also dealing with manic episodes, panic attacks, phantom pain from the traumas, etc.

I guess what is really hitting home for me is seeing how this happens to people - mental illness with no money to get help or therapy, or even the ability to hold down a job, and no friends or family to support because the mental illness has driven them away. And it's fucking depressing me and stressing me out so much and I can't let her see that.

While I think it's a good sign she's been talking about it for months and hasn't done it, I worry now more than ever because she's close to being out of options there.

Vibrissae

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2018, 01:18:13 PM »

I'm not sure if this will help, but I found this German website; they seem to offer free phone and chat consulting. If she wants to contact resources in the US, either for language reasons or with thoughts of moving back here, there are more links where I found this one, including some for free/low-cost assistance.

Good luck to you and to her; I hope she's able to find the help she needs.


lhamo

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2018, 02:40:41 PM »
Does she have any savings at all?  If she can move back to a state with expanded medicaid and has no income, she would qualify to enroll immediately.  Mental health services are covered treatment, but treatment options may be somewhat limited.  Once you are on medicaid you can stay on until you have two months of income that exceed the monthly limits.  One-time cash infusions do not throw you off the program once you are on it -- so if she has some retirement savings she could cash out strategically that would buy her some more time. 

If she can find someplace that has a shelter for women getting out of DV situations that is in an expanded medicaid state that might give her the space to rebuild.

Thank you for caring enough to ask. 

FireAnt

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2018, 07:00:55 PM »
Tough question to answer due to it being so different state to state-- and even county to county! I'm a social worker in Michigan and I can tell you that if there are concerns of safety (to self or others) then she may need hospitalization although that doesn't appear the case as she has not acted on anything. In MI the local Community Mental Health would be the responsible party for someone who is uninsured or Medicaid insured and here you can get crisis assistance for no charge (government funded). Outpatient therapy is covered by Medicaid in MI. If you are uninsured in MI there are places you can go that offer a sliding fee scale for counseling. However, depending on some of the issues/struggles, there are organizations that can offer free counseling regardless of insurance/ability to pay. One example is the YWCA offers free counseling for a lifetime if you are a survivor of physical or sexual assault.

ETA: Has she applied for healthcare through the fed government ("Obamacare") My brother did it for a short time and they have financial assistance -- see this website: https://www.healthcare.gov/lower-costs/qualifying-for-lower-costs/
« Last Edit: October 27, 2018, 07:26:21 PM by italianant »

Fomerly known as something

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2018, 07:22:22 PM »
Find out who is your community mental health services for your county.  Make an appointment with them to find out what services they offer or how you could help her navigate another group in another region of the country.

WanderLucky

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Re: Mustachian mental health?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2018, 04:50:53 PM »
@Rosy Thank you for that response. I'm so glad you found your way out of your situation. I recognize it's no easy task. I think you're right that she will take me up on it *if* she wants it and is ready. My fear is that she does not want it at this point. I think she believes that it's easier for her to just "disappear" and "end it all". She hasn't responded to me in a few days so I'm a little worried.

@Vibrissae thank you for the websites. She is not fluent in German and it sounds like she has already gone through every possible agency there. At this point she only has about a month left in which to even access any help (immigration issues) and the waiting lists for therapists are almost a year long. I will dig through the other site though and see if I can help find something for her.

@lhamo I don't think she has any savings. She mentioned cashing out the last of her retirement money at some point. I think this is part of her stress - being 40-something years old and having to start from scratch for everything. Thank for that info in expanded medicaid! I had no idea that was the case and I'm sure she doesn't either. Also I'm going to start looking into shelters for DV victims. That is a great idea. I'm willing to bet she will refuse that, but it's an option she should know about.

@italianant I think sometimes she really should be hospitalized but that's another thing that is triggering for her. A doctor that she saw in Germany sent her to the ER because he believed she was acutely suicidal. She flipped out about it! When she got to the ER she was able to talk another doctor into just prescribing her some meds and letting her go. Now she is super worried about the thought of being hospitalized against her will. Although it does sound like it could really be beneficial for her. Thank you for the info on MI. That is helpful and makes me realize between your comments and lhamo's comments that there could be more out there for her than I thought. And I am definitely going to look into the YWCA help for sexual assault victims. Thank you!