Guidebook Study Series
We are all likely to know an older person with behaviors that are out of character or confusing. We often wonder if there is a problem we should know more about or something we could do.
Many people in our communities take medications, experience health conditions or struggle with changing circumstances that result in higher risk for mental changes. Sometimes these changes are short-lived and natural responses to life events. But sometimes these changes indicate a need for intervention. Unfortunately, many of us don’t recognize the “red flags” of bigger problems and we miss the opportunity to be helpful. If we become more educated about mental health, we can better respond to the changes and needs of our friends and family.
“Mental Health in Later Life: a Guidebook for Older Marylanders and the People Who Care for Them” is a free and informative publication of the Mental Health Association of Maryland.
ANYONE can use this book to learn about important topics like positive mental health, mental health problems, dementia, delirium, caregiver stress, helping others and finding professionals when more help is needed. By sharing this information, we can spread understanding and hope for better mental health in our communities.
Want to start a Guidebook Study Group? YES YOU DO!
Learning about late life mental health can be fun. Gathering curious folks to share health information and talk about real life challenges is a great way to journey towards positive mental health.
Here is how you can start your own Guidebook Study Group:
GET THE BOOKS:
Contact the Mental Health Association of Maryland at 410-235-1178 x 211 and have free copies of the guidebook sent to people who are interested.
GATHER A GROUP:
Ask people to join you in this important learning and discussion experience. Groups can be as small as 3 or 4 but shouldn’t be larger than 12 to 15. It is important that everyone has time to share in the discussion.
FIND A PLACE TO MEET:
Meetings can happen in individual homes, community centers, places of worship, coffee shops – anywhere!
Set the first meeting for 60 to 90 minutes so that folks can meet, talk about their hopes for the group and discuss a meeting format that makes sense. We recommend dividing the book into sections, assigning the group to read a section before the meeting and then focusing the meeting on that particular section. In this way, you can decide how many times you would like to meet and how quickly you would cover all of the information in the book.
If you would like to turn your Guidebook Study Group into an ongoing place for discussion and support, that is a wonderful idea. Give us a call if you would like help in that direction.
Keys to success:
Here are some ideas for “ground rules” that may be helpful to the health of the group and create a positive experience for all group members.
- Respect privacy: Stories and experiences shared during the group time may be sensitive and are not to be shared with others outside of the group experience.
- Respect each other: Each group member deserves respect which means that participants need to remain non-judgmental and supportive of each other. The group should be a safe place to learn and share.
- Use sensitive language: Negative stigma surrounding mental illness comes from negative stereotypes and false assumptions that are communicated through stigmatizing language. Usually this is unintentional. Use language as an opportunity to explore underlying myths that may be held by many in the general public. Talk about the importance of words and how they can contribute to either a mental health problem or a mental health solution.
- Make sure everyone gets a turn: Each group member deserves the time and freedom to share in the discussion – make an agreement that no individual will be allowed to dominate the conversation.
- Avoid misinformation: It is likely that you will not have a group member who is a mental health professional – and it is possible that questions arise that aren’t answered by the guidebook. At any time, you may seek clarification or more information through the Mental Health Association of Maryland at 410-5235-1178 x 210.
- Take care of yourself: Group members should be allowed to volunteer other rules that will benefit the group and the positive experience of the individuals who are participating. Structure your group in ways that meet your needs.
- HAVE FUN: Enjoy the learning and sharing as it unfolds!
Click here for printable version of Guidebook Study Group
Guidebooks are available online as a pdf, click here or you may obtain free copies through the Mental Health Association of Maryland at 410-235-1178 x 211.
If you would like to talk with an experienced Guidebook Study Group leader from the Mental Health Association of Maryland, call Kim Burton at
410-235-1128 x 210 or email Kim at email@example.com
You may contact Kim:
- Kim Burton
- Director of Older Adult Programs
- 410 235 1178 ext 210