In addition to affecting the lives of those who are ill, illnesses may also profoundly affect the spouses or partners who care for those who are ill. Anxiety and depression may increase as caregivers adjust to new realities and expectations. On the other hand, intimacy and closeness may increase as partners solidify their relationships in the face of illness. Though every relationship is unique, there are some trends that can be seen across relationships when, for instance, in a heterosexual relationship the man is the caregiver, and alternatively when the women is the caregiver. Lesbian relationships, too, are impacted when one partner is ill, sometimes in similar patterns to heterosexual relationships, and sometimes in different ways.
To prepare for this Discussion, consider how illness might affect a life partner relationship under these different relationship configurations.
Reply 1– Effects of Illness on Women’s Relationships
In a relationship, when one becomes very ill and requires a caregiver, it can significantly impact the relationship. In some instances, it can make the relationship stronger, however, there are many challenges from the perspective of both male and female. Alexander and Wilz (2010) state that family caregivers have to develop coping skills to deal with issues that could arise daily. Taking care of someone poses different challenges, resulting in different types of stressors so caregivers need to be conscientious of those challenges to be prepared to deal with them when they come up. Additionally, being a caregiver for a loved one can be very taxing and cumbersome, resulting in decreased mental and physical health (Alexander & Wilz, 2010).
Fekete et al. (2007) states that emotional support has a significant influence on an individual with a chronic illness. Emotional support provides a more positive outlook for an individual, which, can impact their mental state and also influence their health (Fekete et al., 2007). Additionally, caregivers or spouses of individuals with chronic illnesses are more susceptible to health implications and psychological stress, resulting from lifestyles changes, assuming the responsibilities of their loved one, limited time for social events, and most importantly, lack of self-care (Fekete et al., 2007). Fekete et al. (2007) also states that women and men differ on how they support each other and how they interpret that support.
According to Umberson et al. (2016), various factors should be considered in thinking about how individuals interpret and respond to relationships. Social contexts influence the way in which men and women deal with illness. For example, men are typically encouraged to be strong, independent, and inattentive regarding physical illness or pain, therefore men are more likely to avoid accepting or looking for help whereas women are perceived to be delicate and feeble (Umberson et al., 2016). Umberson et al. (2016) state that because of this perception, women are more likely to be conscientious and responsive to illness and physical challenges. For example, if the man is ill in a heterosexual relationship, he will most likely downplay his illness and/or pain, which; influences the woman’s responsiveness to his illness. Additionally, studies show that because of men’s perceptions regarding illness and pain, they are also less likely to be attentive if their spouse is ill (Umberson et al. (2016). Women on the other hand are more receptive and aim to provide above adequate care, which results in a higher degree of emotional and physical stress (Umberto et al. 2016).
In regards to same sex marriages or relationships, Umberson et al. (2016) state that individuals involved in same sex relationships most likely perceive their significant other as an equal so there is not a power struggle between household tasks and gender-specific roles. As a result, there is less conflict and stress, which is beneficial for both the ill individual and the caretaker (Umberto et al., 2016). In contrast, women in heterosexual relationships are very involved and concerned when their spouse is ill but because men in heterosexual relationships are less intuitive and attentive to their spouses needs, tension can arise. For example, a man takes his ill wife to the hospital for surgery, waits for her to check in then leaves and goes back home, whereas a women will be vested in her spouses care and illness. She will take her spouse to the hospital, ask questions, stay with her spouse the entire time etc. Overall, the main difference between heterosexual couples and same-sex couples is that there is more of an alignment in the perceptions and responsiveness to illness that there is less stress and ill spouses in same sex relationships often have their needs met. In heterosexual couples, women are more receptive and men are less attentive, which can result in increased stress for women that are either the caregiver or the ill spouse. Understanding these gender-role dynamics and how genders perceive illness can help to develop strategies that promote well-being for heterosexual relationships as same sex relationships have proven to be more health-promoting and beneficial (Umberto et al., 2016).
Reply 2. Mental Health
Advocating for Social Change: Techniques and Tools
A critical part of your development as a counseling professional involves working for positive social change. In fact, your ultimate goal of becoming a clinical mental health counselor means working with clients to help them understand and work through their issues and strengthen their overall well-being. In addition to your profession and its impact in effecting social change, you are also in a position to learn about emerging issues your clients may be facing that should be addressed.
Advocating for social change often means getting the word out. Over the years, the methods for making the public aware have grown from flyers, brochures, and poster sessions at conferences to advocating online, including blogs, wikis, and social media. But the central goal of these communications remains focused on presenting the issue and the goal as clearly and succinctly as possible.
For this Discussion, you will develop skills that will help you become an agent for social change. You will create an informational product advocating change with a current issue facing a population that interests you.
· Review the Optional Resources and consider the possible technology tools to use for the creation of your Counselor’s Role as Advocate for Social Change informational product (brochure, flyer, PowerPoint, wiki, blog, etc.).
· Select a digital tool to create your Social Change informational product. It may be in the form of a flyer, brochure, wiki, blog post, webpage, or other format of your choosing.
· Review the Learning Resources and select a current event no older than 12 months concerning a setting/population you are interested in.
· Include the following in your post:
. Title and Introduction
. An attachment or link to the informational product you created
. An evaluation of the current event/problem area you selected that includes the following:
3. A description of the setting/population you would like to work with (Mental Health, Addiction, Campus, etc.)
3. A description of the problem, issue, or event that led to your interest
3. An explanation of why you chose the issue you selected and why change is needed. Make sure to cite at least three scholarly resources (these may include your course text and scholarly, peer-reviewed sources from the Walden journal databases).
3. A list of action steps one might take to address the problem
. Reference list: at least three resources
Reply to 2 to:
Suicide: Breaking the Silence
I decided to pick suicide as my topic for social change because it is a thing that we see all of the time but we do not all understand. There are people that when they see that someone committed suicide on the news they think, “oh they were always so happy and smiling” but I believe that if people knew the warning signs they could help others before they get to that point. I also chose this because someone knowing the warning signs of suicide saved my life.
I chose to use the recent suicide of Kate Spade for this discussion. She ended her life on June 5th, 2018. There were people that did not understand why someone so rich and pretty and famous would do something like this. There are people that would say that she seemed so happy and enjoyed life. There are people in the community I live in that would call her selfish but I do not believe anyone of those people would say that if they understood suicide and all of the warning signs and causes. I choose this issue because I myself thought about suicide but I had one teacher in my life that knew what the warning signs were and she gave me the help I needed, others weren’t so lucky. There are people that lose their lives to suicide even when it could have been prevented. I believe if everyone was informed the number of suicides would be able to go down. This change is needed because we lose too many people to this form of death. It hurts so many people and it takes so much from the world that I think could help everyone. Jobes developed a “stepped care” approach for suicide prevention and treatment. It is set in a pyramid style and it goes from the bottom is the least restrictive and cheapest and then goes to the top which is the most restrictive and cost the most. In the base of the formation is crisis hotline support and follow-up. A individual would call this hotline during a crisis or when they are thinking about suicide and then after the hotline helps the individual calm down they may get them to go to the next level which is brief intervention. This is where someone helps you briefly (like in the name) to get you back to base line during a crisis. If the symptoms continue you would go to outpatient care where you would be treated over time by someone on a weekly or bi-weekly bases. Then once that option is visited and then if it is not helping the individual may be sent to a partial hospitalization which is a week or two just to get them stabilized and to get them out of harms wat. If that does not work then the option of inpatient psychiatric hospitalization is visited and this option is more intensive (Jobes, D. A. (2018, August 06). This form of care in my opinion does help and in the article it is proven to be evidence based treatment. There was a research done to see if psychoeducation and another form of suicide stigma intervention would help and the results showed that it does. Psychoeducation is simply getting the information and data on suicide to the public and it showed a significant level of change in the stigma (Rogers, M. L. (2018, April 10). There was a research done at a University in Japan that developed a system to teacher suicide prevention and education and to see how it would work with college students. First there would be a lecture about suicide prevention and education. Then they would hold an open discussion with the whole group that was a part of the lecture and then after that they would train the student is peer support skills they could identify others that are in need and know how to help. This study showed that suicide education did work (Katsumata, Y. (2017, July 12). The first step to help change this I would have every school, police agency and emergency response team go through Mental Health First Aid that is taught by the Department of Mental Health so the people in authority could be better able to see suicidal behaviors and warning signs. Then I would suggest that community mental health agencies hold annual suicide education events in the community to reach others and teach them what is needed to be able to identify warning signs of suicide in their loved ones. Lastly, I would suggest breaking the silence that is surrounding suicide in the school system and teach the students about it and to break the stigma through psychoeducation and give them the skills and knowledge to know what to do if themselves or someone they care about is thinking about suicide