National Mental Health Month

May 15, 2024, Uncategorized

National Mental Health Month

May is National Mental Health Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues, breaking down stigmas, and fostering a community of support and understanding. Gilchrist not only provides end-of-life medical care, pain relief, and emotional and spiritual support but also provides mental health services to ensure our patients live their final days as fully and comfortably as possible. Our clinical counselors offer interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, grief education, and psychoeducation for a variety of issues that people are dealing with, such as depressed mood and anxiety. Maureen Hulse, a Social Work Counselor at Gilchrist, shares: “The ultimate goal is to bring peace to patients and their family members. We help them build upon the strengths that they already have to get them through the challenging times.”  Mental health care is just as crucial for hospice patients as it is for their families. “Mental health is important for our patients because it enhances their quality of life in their end of days,” Maureen states.

Finding Joy After the Loss of a Loved One

After the loss of a loved one, family members often struggle to navigate their lives without them. Maureen explains one particular instance when a patient’s daughter was feeling uncertain about her future after losing her mother. “My job as the counselor was to help her dig deep. Look at changing that thought process. Yes, you will feel lost. You will feel grief. However, we can build a life around that grief, and you can add enjoyment to your life again.”  Through Maureen’s guidance, the daughter was able to find a new community and gradually built a new life while honoring her mother’s memory.

Finding Peace and Preparing Hearts

The clinical counselors at Gilchrist help patients come to terms with their mortality and often find that patients make peace with their mortality before their families do. “They have accepted it. So, because of this, their primary concern is, ‘Is my family going to be okay without me?’” Maureen shares. In these final stages, many patients find themselves wrestling with feelings they haven’t expressed before, like guilt or unresolved issues. In this instance, the counselors help facilitate a shared understanding and acceptance among family members, easing the emotional transition for everyone involved. Maureen has led countless family meetings to help bridge these communication gaps, providing a space where patients can share their innermost thoughts and feelings with their loved ones, often for the first time. This aspect of hospice care ensures that patients can find peace and closure, making their final days as meaningful as possible. Maureen recalls a patient who felt out of his depth when it came to expressing his feelings to his family. He asked Maureen to lead a meeting with his family. They gathered on his property, a setting familiar and comforting, where he opened up to his estranged son, expressing his pride and love. This encounter, just days before his passing, demonstrated the vital role that mental health support plays in hospice care, not just for the patients but in knitting families closer together in their most challenging times.

As we observe National Mental Health Month, let’s remember the vital role mental health plays in every part of our lives, including during times of loss and grief. Hospice care shows us that a supportive hand can make a big difference even in life’s final moments.

Gilchrist offers the community various grief groups, counseling, and workshops. For more information, email or call our Care Navigators at 888-823-8880.

About Our Grief Support Groups

Gilchrist’s support groups encourage mutual support and understanding by providing an environment where participants can discuss grief-related topics, explore their feelings, and learn coping strategies.

Available Support Groups:

  • Remembering Our Parents – For Adults Who Have Lost Parents (six-week session)
  • Mother’s Grief Group – For Mothers Who Have Lost an Adult Child (3rd Monday of each month)
  • Loss of a Spouse/Life Partner- For the Loss of a Spouse, Life Partner, or Significant Other
  • The Journey Continues: Grief Support in the Second Year (3rd Tuesday of each month)

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