The 10th of October was World Mental Health Awareness Day. Working closely with those living with chronic illness, we recognise the mental health challenge that a chronic illness can often entail. For example, research suggests almost a third of people with interstitial lung disease experience anxiety, and almost a quarter suffer from depression. It’s important to look at health as a whole and treat mental health in tandem rather than in isolation to the disease. It’s natural that a long-term diagnosis can change how a person lives, sees themselves and relates to others. Living with a chronic condition can lead to more time spent in hospital, anxiety related to condition management, chemical and hormonal impacts of medication as well as changes to mobility and general independence. It’s also important to recognise that the psychological challenges are not only felt by the person living with the condition but also those who love and care for them.
At patientMpower our mission has always been in our name; to empower people living with long-term illnesses by enabling them with better solutions for managing day to day. We hope that our technology continues to be a useful tool among others to ease the psychological demand that comes with a chronic condition. Our solution strives to deliver:
- Empowerment – overall better understanding of condition trends in the familiarity of the patient’s own environment
- Convenience – patients cut down on hospital visits and the associated stress
- Reassurance – oversight from clinical teams
Our platform enables patients to complete disease specific quality of life assessment questionnaires where these are available. This is a useful way of objectively measuring the impact of disease on quality of life, and to recognise trends or identify when additional interventions might be required.
There are other useful strategies to help manage your mental health, as a patient, caregiver or loved one. Here are some that we would recommend:
- Information: the more you know about the condition, the better equipped you will be to understand what’s happening and why. Be careful what sources you consult and follow those recommended to you by clinicians and trusted support groups
- Build a team: support groups are a fantastic way to find others who are experiencing the same thing as you and to whom you can really relate. These groups provide emotional support, information, practical tips and advice to patients, carers and friends.
- Caring for yourself: positive lifestyle changes can hugely improve the quality of life of someone living with a chronic illness and really help them to feel better. Remember the importance of exercise, good sleep and a nutritious diet. Instead of going it alone, invite family or friends to join you
- Beware of bad spells: Dark, dreary moods can hinder treatment leading to missed medication or appointments. Let others know how you’re feeling. Speaking with a counselor can be a great idea to share how you’re feeling without being afraid that you are burdening someone
If you are struggling with your mental health here are some useful links and people to turn to:
- Irish patient supports groups – https://www.ihca.ie/patient-information/useful-links/patient-support-groups
- PF Warriors – https://pfwarriors.com/
- Action for PF (UK) – https://www.actionpf.org/
- Samaritans Ireland – https://www.samaritans.org/?nation=ireland
- NHS Mental Health services – https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/
- Mental Health America – https://www.mhanational.org/finding-help
patientMpower is an experienced provider of virtual care solutions for a number of respiratory, kidney and heart conditions including COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other interstitial lung diseases (ILD), lung transplant, cystic fibrosis (CF), kidney transplant and heart failure.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more about patientMpower contact us using the form below, or book in for a product demo with a member of our sales team at your convenience here (US time zones book here).