Updated on February 6, 2024
7 min read

Expert Mental Health Interventions

Key Takeaways

Meet the Expert

Megan Tangradi, MS, LPC, LCADC, CCS, CCTP, from Achieve Wellness and Recovery has a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Monmouth University, specializing in Addiction Studies. She is a dually licensed clinician as, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor as well as a Certified Clinical Supervisor and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional.

We asked her about mental health interventions, here's what she said:

What is an intervention, and how can it help someone who is struggling with mental health issues?

An intervention is a structured process that assists someone struggling with mental health issues. It should provide them with emotional support, practical guidance, and appropriate resources to help them achieve their individual goals.

During an intervention, a counselor or therapist meets with the person facing a challenging situation and listens to their concerns. The counselor then establishes an individualized plan for addressing the mental health issues. 

Often, family and friends are involved in the intervention as well.

How can I identify when someone I care about is struggling with mental health issues?

Visible changes include changes in their daily routine, such as:

  • Difficulty sleeping or fatigue
  • An increase in the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Withdrawal from friends and family or other activities

What are some mental health problems that might require an intervention?

Mental health problems that might require an intervention include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse

Other mental health issues, such as eating disorders and personality disorders, can also benefit from therapeutic interventions.

Who should be involved in an intervention, and how can I gather a support team?

In an intervention, those closest to the affected person must be aware of the intervention so that they can stand as the source of support. They will work together with mental health professionals such as therapists or counselors. 

This will help ensure that there will be people who naturally care, understand, and appreciate the individual in a non-judgmental manner.

What are some strategies for planning an effective intervention?

Talk and secure a team of supportive people who are willing to be there through the process of achieving specific goals and needs. Then, carefully plan the resources needed to achieve those goals. 

Establish a safe space and environment for your intervention, free from distractions and judgment. Have a plan for the individual’s follow-up care after the intervention is finished with proper monitoring progress.

How can I prepare for an intervention, and what should I expect during the process?

  • Do preliminary research about mental health issues and be prepared with questions or concerns. 
  • During the intervention, stay calm and show kindness towards the person in need.
  • Remain supportive and show respect for their decisions, expectations, and boundaries.
  • Being visible physically and mentally will be a big help in letting the person know that he or she is not alone in this situation.
  • Be honest and listen to their stories while remaining professional and objective. 
  • Have realistic expectations about the outcome of the intervention and be prepared for any eventuality.

What are some common challenges that might arise during an intervention, and how can I overcome them?

  • Resistance from the person in need
  • Disagreements between team members
  • Lack of support from some family members

To overcome these obstacles, a therapist will focus on creating a supportive environment for the person in need by actively listening to their concerns and validating their feelings. 

They must also be reminded of the importance of setting achievable goals. Progress must be monitored regularly. 

If there are disagreements among team members, it is important to listen mindfully without judgment and take action based on collective decisions.

How can I communicate my concerns effectively during an intervention?

During an intervention:

  • Talk clearly and compassionately
  • Express concerns directly but also be open to feedback from the person in need as well as other people involved in the intervention process
  • Make sure that realistic expectations of what can be achieved are properly set
  • Be aware of any potential triggers or areas that may require special attention

How can I support someone after an intervention and ensure they continue to receive treatment?

After the intervention, a follow-up plan with achievable goals and objectives must be provided. 

Support people during the treatment process by being available to answer questions or listen if they need someone to talk to. Encourage them to seek professional help if necessary and remind them that there is always hope for recovery.

What are some resources I can use to learn more about mental health interventions?

There are many resources available to learn more about mental health interventions, such as books, online courses, and support groups. 

Additionally, talking to a mental health professional or a counselor can also be beneficial in gaining insight into the intervention process. 

Websites like Mental Health America and National Alliance on Mental Illness also provide useful information and resources related to mental health interventions.

How can I ensure that an intervention is conducted in a safe and supportive environment?

Plan ahead and consider the needs of everyone involved. 

Make sure that all participants feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns or sharing personal stories without judgment. 

Establish clear guidelines on what will be discussed during the intervention process and expectations regarding behavior from all members present.

What are some signs that an intervention might not be appropriate or effective for someone who is struggling with mental health issues?

An intervention might not be appropriate if:

  • The person in need seems to be resistant to the idea of an intervention
  • If they cannot recognize their behavior as problematic and seek help

Also, if family members are unable or unwilling to take part in the process, then it may be best to reassess the intervention and find other resources that could fit the person in need.

How can I respect someone's privacy and autonomy during an intervention?

Allow the person to make decisions based on their own needs and preferences while sharing information that is relevant to the intervention process. 

Remember that everyone involved should be allowed to express their opinion without judgment or criticism from other people.

What alternative approaches to interventions might be more appropriate for certain situations?

Some alternative approaches to interventions include:

  • Peer support groups
  • Family meetings
  • Therapeutic activities. 

Therapy sessions with a mental health professional can also help understand the individual's needs and work towards better outcomes.

How can I handle resistance or defensiveness from someone struggling with mental health issues during an intervention?

Remain calm and patient. 

Listen to the person’s concerns without judgment and provide reassurance that their feelings are valid. 

Acknowledge the individual’s autonomy while reinforcing that they can benefit from seeking professional help if necessary.

How can I balance the need for urgency with sensitivity during an intervention?

Allow for ample time to talk and be supportive, but do not let conversations become too lengthy or open-ended. This can lead to further confusion or overwhelming feelings. 

Remain mindful of the individual’s mental state and offer support throughout the intervention process.

What are some strategies for staying calm and focused during an emotional intervention?

Take breaks if needed and get some fresh air to help clear your mind. Let your mind and emotions breathe so you can avoid getting overwhelmed or lost in a conversation. 

Remain focused on the goal of the intervention and use positive language to make an open dialogue. 

It can be helpful to practice mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing and visualization to keep yourself grounded during an emotional intervention.

How can I address my own emotions and needs during an intervention, while still prioritizing the needs of the person who is struggling with mental health issues?

Check-in with yourself throughout the intervention process. If necessary, take a step back and reflecting on what you’re feeling and how you’re handling it. 

It is important to recognize your own needs during an intervention, as this can help ensure that you remain open and present with the individual in need. 

If you are too occupied with your own emotions, you may not be able to fully understand the person’s needs or give them the support they need. Be mindful of your energy throughout the intervention as it will lead to more productive conversations and better outcomes.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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