To start with the exercise of identifying early warning signs, think back to the times that your partner, family member, or friend, was unwell. How did it start? How did it progress? What did s/he experience? What kind of thoughts did s/he have? Did their behavior change? Did anything happen in a particular order? Also, discuss it in a non-threatening and non-judgmental way with the other person. Explore typical situations or events that often preceded such a setback, e.g. after working overtime, conflict at home, or contact with specific other people. These situations are called “triggers.” While there are some common triggers, each person has his or her own unique triggers as well.
Now that you have your early warning signs and your triggers, it’s time to put everything together to develop an action plan. Use the worksheet below to complete the required information for each different warning sign or trigger. Adapt or update the list as needed in consultation with the other person. Be sure to identify and put in place additional resources and skills that may be required to deal with each trigger situation.
Complete the following worksheet to better understand and predict potential problems that you can use to put a preventative plan in motion.
Download and print the worksheet here: Relapse Prevention Worksheet
Next, before wrapping up, we provide a short daily care checklist to remind you of the things that are important in supporting someone with a mental illness on a daily basis.