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The Mental Health Association of Minnesota Blog is to keep our audience informed about current events and developments in Minnesota's health community.
Mental Health Minnesota Client Advocacy Program
Andrew called Kim, a Client Advocate at Mental Health Minnesota concerned about his brother Jake. Jake was living in Andrew’s basement and had undergone significant life changes in the last six months. Jake had lost his job, gone through a divorce, and had limited time with his daughter. He was showing signs of depression and found little motivation to seek help.
When Andrew originally called Mental Health Minnesota he wanted Jake to get help and wanted someone to speak to him about his options. Our Client Advocate agreed to speak to Jake, but was concerned about Jake’s level of interest in having the conversation.
The next day Andrew called with Jake on the other line. The Client Advocate could tell that Jake felt uncomfortable with the conversation from the start. Kim knew that, despite best intentions, pushing someone to get help often does not encourage engagement. Without engagement recovery cannot begin.
Kim recognized that the conversation would not be productive unless Jake was engaged and hopeful about seeking help. She asked Jake if he would feel more comfortable if it were just Jake and Kim on the phone. Jake asked Andrew if he could speak to Kim independently.
Once Kim was on the phone with Jake she asked him a question that he had not heard up to that point: “What do you think?”
Jake was taken aback, no one had asked him his wants or needs in his own situation. He disclosed that he had been going through a hard time and had wanted to look for help but was resistant because he didn’t feel like he had a say in what he wanted.
Jake then disclosed that he had a barrier to receiving help. He did not have insurance but had not told anyone else that this barrier existed. Feeling comfortable with Kim’s support, he was able to open up for the first time about not having insurance.
Kim spoke with Jake about his options for obtaining insurance and linked him with resources that he could go to in the mean time to receive help.
One simple question was what made all the difference for Jake in taking the first step in recovery. He was asked what he thought of his own situation and what he wanted to happen.
This person-centered approach is taken every day with our Client Advocates. Asking someone what they want not only promotes engagement in one’s own recovery but also instills the most important component of recovery: hope.