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Mental health support for elderly South Asians
Olinguita · 06/02/2023 07:55
Hi all, I hope you don't mind me posting this question as I'm not actually South Asian myself, but my husband is. Long story, but my MIL is in a very bad way after FIL passed away 18 months ago... And by that we are talking near-total mental breakdown and alcoholism. It's got to the stage where we desperately need some mental health (possibly psychiatric) and social support to navigate this as I'm feeling quite out of my depth. Does anyone know if there are any community associations for older South Asian folks in London, or support for alcohol abuse? My DH is an only child and MIL was extremely dependent on FIL. She is only in her 60s and I'm terrified she is going to drink herself to death. There are two issues really, one is the mental health piece and getting her sober, and the other is getting her to meet some friends of her own age (once she is sober...). She is incredibly demanding and needs near-constant attention although she is physically capable of living independently and getting public transport etc. DH and I have a young child and both work, and while we want to be there for her and support her her it's like throwing love into a black hole ... Nothing is ever enough if you see what I mean, so we need to set some boundaries so our family unit doesn't get submerged with MIL's wants and needs. Any suggestions would be SO welcome.
pursudebyablackdog · 06/02/2023 10:05
Tackling the medical side of mental health first; How proactive is she? Does she accept she needs some support? Will she make a GP appointment? I think if she doesn't see an issue and won't accept help you might find it difficult, by all means chat to her GP, but due to confidentiality and assuming she has got capacity, you might find you hit a bit of a wall, although her GP might be able to recommend some 'open' support groups, without MILs consent they won't be able to make any referrals into any referral only groups.
Next tackling the social side of mental health; her local library is likely to have lots of information about services (possibly including grief counselling) which you can tap into, some areas require an HCP referral, other areas have an open referral policy, but information should be available.
If you don't have time to get to the library look at your local council website, again some councils have really good support systems (sometimes found under the social care tab on their website) other councils are a bit rubbish!
Next does she have any belief system? Can she find a local mosque/ temple/ church / synagogue (delete as appropriate) she can visit / attend? If she is atheist/ agnostic it still might be worth looking at mosque/ temple/ church/synagogue/ other religious building notice board or website to see what is going on locally, most mainstream religions are happy to invite 'non-believers' into their fold (but do check as some won't it can be both area / religious belief system dependant).
If your Mil has a local community centre, might be worth having a look and seeing if they have any groups available, I once lived in an area where the local community centre did 'celebration' days for differing nationalities, no idea if it still does as I moved, but some more diverse areas might do something similar. Our local Polish/ French / Asian produce shops have notice boards with events going on maybe see if you MIL's local shops have something similar?
You may find either you or your husband will need to take her to any groups / events until she has regained her confidence. But if she's not ready / doesn't see she needs support it might be a case of "you can take a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."
Fingers crossed for you and your mil. Hard situation all round.
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