Parkinson’s disease (PD) can greatly affect your mental health and well-being. An array of non-movement symptoms related to Parkinson’s can impact how you feel. It can be overwhelming to try to address these mental health concerns.
Care partners can also experience negative mental health effects. The stress and unpredictability of Parkinson’s may take a toll on your mental health.
When managing Parkinson’s, utilize this article as a mental health guide to help you advocate for mental health; for yourself and your loved one. Top mental health concerns related to Parkinson’s can include:
Advocating for Your Mental Health
It can be scary to address your mental health. Sharing your experiences may feel vulnerable. There are many ways to share your story and find resources for your emotional well-being. Here are some signs that you may need help with your mental health:
- Feeling tired even when you get a good night’s sleep
- Being easily irritated
- Not enjoying things you have enjoyed in the past
- Lack of motivation
- Feeling hopeless
These are signs that you may need some extra support. The next step is to share your needs with a healthcare professional. You can talk to your practitioner or a mental health professional directly about what is the best option for you.
Advocating for Your Loved One’s Mental Health
Trying to advocate for a loved one’s mental health may feel uncomfortable and awkward. It is normal to feel worried about invading their privacy or doing the wrong thing. Many times, a person may just need to be shown support and love when they are struggling. Here are signs that your loved one might need help:
- They stop answering your phone calls or texts
- Their mood and behavior change
- They make comments about feeling hopeless
- They stop doing things they have enjoyed in the past
- They ask for your help directly
What does advocating for another person’s mental health look like? Encourage them to seek help. Support them in the process. Share resources and celebrate their courage to talk about mental health.
How to Help Your Loved Ones Advocate for Themselves
It is not your responsibility to carry your loved one’s struggles, but there are many ways to support and encourage them in the process of getting help. Offer to go with them to their appointments. Show how thankful you are for their help as a care partner. Many people just need to know they are not alone in their mental health struggles.
It can be difficult to start a conversation with a loved one about their mental health. Here are some questions to ask a loved one struggling with their mental health:
- Would you like to talk about your mental health?
- How are you feeling?
- What are some things you can do to improve your mental health?
- How can I support you?
Help Promote Mental Health Awareness
Many people are afraid of being judged if they bring up mental health, however it is critical to advocate for your mental health and for a loved one’s mental health. There is also a need to remove the stigma around addressing mental health, and advocate for mental health awareness — especially around a disease that affects cognition, mood and sleep.
Here are ways you can promote mental health:
- Share your story with others. Choosing to tell your story can be inspiring and encourage others who may be struggling. Submit your PD story.
- Attend mental health events, like our “Mindfulness Monday” PD Health @ Home weekly events.
- Discuss mental health with your support group or in PD Conversations.
- Read more about mental health in our books about Cognition, Mood and Sleep.
- Listen to our Substantial Matters Podcast episodes about mental health.
Mental Health Resources
- 6 Helpful Tips for Finding Your Ideal Mental Health Counselor
- Answering the Top Care Partner Questions About Mental Health
- Mental Health Tips for Cognition, Mood and Sleep
- Tips for Talking to a Parkinson's Doctor about Depression
Mental health can be a difficult topic to address, but it is worth advocating for your needs. There are many ways to advocate for your mental health, your loved one’s mental health, and mental health awareness in general.
Not sure where to start? Contact our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) for help finding mental health resources and wellness events taking place near you.