Family Resources FAQs
Q: I feel like I am grieving my loved one who has been diagnosed with or is struggling with a mental illness. What can I do to learn more about the process? Where can I go for support?
A: Feelings of grief and loss are common, normal responses when a loved is diagnosed with a mental illness or when you see the struggle your family member encounters when dealing with symptoms and other challenges of illness. Everyone grieves differently and it’s not unusual for members of the same family to have a variety of feelings and experiences. Some family members may find books on the grieving process helpful. Check our reading list for suggestions.
Other family members may find classes and support groups beneficial. The learning and advocacy section of our site provides information and links to local organizations offering classes, workshops and support groups.
Q: How do I get a diagnosis for myself or my family member?
A: In order to get a diagnosis, a mental health assessment, called a Diagnostic Assessment, is required. This assessment is provided by a mental health professional like a counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist. These professionals are typically found through your health insurance plan, your primary care clinic, or through a mental health clinic. Diagnostic assessments provide a diagnosis as well as a list of needs and recommendations for possible services and treatment. Learn more about how to get a mental health assessment completed.
Q: How do I get mental health services for myself or my family member?
A: If you or your family member is experiencing a crisis (feeling suicidal, psychotic, exhibiting out of control behavior or threatening to harm themselves or others) and need services now, crisis teams are available by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
- Anoka: 763.755.3801
- Carver/Scott: 952.442.7601
- Dakota: 952.891.7171
- Hennepin: Adults – 612.596.1223, Children – 612.348.2233
- Ramsey: Adults – 651.266.7900, Children – 651.774.7000
- Washington: 651.777.5222
Located in Saint Paul, MN, Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health offers walk-in crisis services for adults (ages 18 and older) in Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington Counties. Call the crisis line, 651-266-7900, for immediate mental health support, 24 hours a day. Crisis line staff might recommend a visit to Urgent Care for Adult Mental Health, or connect you with a mobile crisis team in your community.
Transporting your family member to the nearest Emergency Room is also an option if this can be done safely.
View a list of Minnesota Mental Health Crisis phone numbers – published and maintained by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, this includes statewide county information if you are looking for resources outside of the Twin Cities area.
If services are not needed immediately, the first step may be to see your doctor or go to a health clinic and talk about how you are feeling. Doctors and other health professionals can usually make a referral for you to get an assessment to determine if mental health treatment is something you need. An assessment can provide both a diagnosis as well as a list of needs and recommendations for possible treatment and services.
If you want to arrange for an assessment, the process may vary, depending on the type of health insurance you have. But even if you do not have insurance, you can still get an assessment. Learn more about how to get a mental health assessment.
Q: How do I apply for financial assistance for myself or for my family member?
A: Many kinds of financial assistance (including those for food, medical insurance, housing, and general expenses) exist for individuals with disabilities, however, each has certain eligibility requirements and application processes. Ready to learn more about what’s available, the eligibility requirements, and how you or your loved one can apply? Check the financial and basic needs assistance section of our definitions. You can also access the Hope For Recovery resource guide (PDF file) produced by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota providing information to families of individuals with mental illness. Financial assistance information begins on page 9 of this document.
Q: I’m trying to find information about a medication prescribed to me or my loved one. Where should I look?
A: Well over 100 medications are commonly used in psychiatry, but there are also many resources to help you get the information you are looking for.
Access Fact Sheets from NAMI-MN about individual psychiatric medications including FDA alerts, brand/generic names, possible side effects, drug interactions, and prescription assistance programs that may be available by the manufacturer. Scroll down the page to the Medications section.
Learn more about the types of medications that are used to treat different mental illnesses.
Q: What does civil commitment mean?
A: Civil Commitment is mental health or chemical health treatment that is court ordered. Civil commitment becomes necessary when someone is a danger to themselves or others as a result of mental illness, chemical dependence, or other disease of the brain. A person is considered a danger when they: exhibit suicidal activity, make threats toward others, damage property, or demonstrate an inability to provide basic needs such as food, shelter, or seek medical care.
Civil commitment is a legal process. Because it involves taking away a person’s civil liberties and limits their rights in regard to mental and chemical health treatment, it is done only in rare circumstances. All efforts are made to treat people on a voluntary basis whenever possible. Learn more about civil commitment and initial steps to take when a loved one is in crisis.
Q: How do I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits for myself or a family member?
A: All disability claims start with an application to Social Security. This may be done in person, or online at http://www.ssa.gov/. You can also call any local Social Security office or the national toll free number: 1-800-772-1213. Learn more about eligibility requirements, how to apply, and what to expect during the application process.