You Can Save A Life: Stop Ignoring The Subject of Mental Health
Let us Talk about Mental Health
I have been debating all day whether or not to write a post. Yesterday as I was planning my weekly post I began to think of topics in mental health that you guys would be interested in. So I decided instead to begin writing a general post about why seeking help with mental health problems was important. Then I sadly got a call letting me know of a suicide in my family that occurred yesterday evening. I debated after that on whether or not I should post this. The truth is I did not want to be one of those people that take other’s suffering or mourning and turn it into something that is all about me. This however is not just about me. Mental health affects us all. So I want to write about the importance of seeking help no matter how small you think your problem is.
Some Mental Health Facts
- Mental Health Problems are more common than most think and affect even children.
- (U.S. Statistics) 10 years ago it was reported that between 5-7 percent of adults and 5-9 percent of children and adolescents suffered a mental health problem yearly. This information has of course changed, (some report it is 1 in every 6 people).
- Mental health can attribute for many deaths that include young people.
- One of the most common types of mental health problems is depression, which can range in severity and can persist for long periods of time.
As a psychology major and former student, I have heard way too often that psychologists are for crazy people, and that only crazy people need counseling or psychological help. This of course is not true, and I hope that if you are reading this you know that. Counseling has many benefits and there are so many different types of counseling help that we can seek for different problems or facets of our lives (marriage, family, career, personal, etc.) Here are some more facts about the professionals in this field.
- Psychologists or therapists are bound by a code of ethics that prohibits them from sharing confidential information disclosed by their clients.
- At times this can be breeched if the professional believes their client is at risk for dangerous behavior (suicide, murder, self-harm), or if the professional is aware of any action that may lead to the harm of others.
*More about this code can be found in the American Psychological Association website. This information is mainly found in “Principle D: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity”
Having Someone in Your Corner
Have you ever gotten into an argument with someone and then you decide to go to your best friend to vent? We do this because we feel safe with them maybe or because we feel that they will be on our side. This may help with smaller problems or issues in our lives, but sometimes we do not have that unbiased person we can go to when we just need to vent. Psychologists are there to support you. They lend an unbiased ear and help you work through emotions and patterns of behavior.
Seeking Answers and Advice
Contrary to popular belief and stereotypes, Psychologists and Mental Health professionals are not trained or expected to give you the answers or to give you advice about what you should do. They do not sit you down and ask “So how do you feel?” at least not in that cliché way movies portray. So what do they do?
- They help equip you with the tools needed to empower and strengthen your own decision making skills and to help you cope with your problems outside of therapy.
- A therapist or psychologists cannot follow you around and give you answers for how to deal with situations. Their goal is to guide you and help you figure out root issues that may be influencing your behavior or your thinking.
- They train you to be a mentally stronger version of your self and teach you tools so that you will not easily fall into old negative patterns.
This is why it is so important to seek professional help when you feel that your problems or daily situations are making your mental health decline or suffer. Think of them as a life coach or a “mind coach” in this case.
Mental Health is an Ongoing Process
Our lives change so often. We welcome people into our lives often and sadly we also loose people. We change careers; we face successes and failures and we cannot always properly process this all in a healthy way. We can be happy today and not want to get out of bed tomorrow. We feel ecstatic and in the next moment we see the ugly side of depression kick in. The truth is that a lot of things in our lives are not as easy as just saying, “get over them.” Mental health professionals are trained and qualified to help us through these difficult times. I remember when my older brother left for college my mom felt very sad and she was having trouble coping. It was her first child that had left the home and she started counseling to work through her emotions. I can truly say that this helped us all because she was a significantly healthier person.
How to Seek Help
Mental health is a personal journey, but it also one that affects everyone in your immediate environment. It affects our behavior, our thoughts, and even our health. There are ways to seek help. Everyone deserves it!
- Your College, University, or school campus should have qualified professionals that you can talk to for free. Take advantage of these resources.
- College can be very hard. We stress about money; grades, relationships, and our future after graduation. You are never alone in this. These are thoughts that every student has thought about. Do not be afraid to work on your personal journey and find a professional to help you.
- Many medical insurances cover partial mental health services or programs.
- If you cannot afford a therapist or psychologist, you can also find online support groups where you will find others going through similar journeys.
- You can also find out if your community has support groups you can attend. Many times these groups are ran by trained professionals who can guide you.
Do Not Ignore the Signs
Like I mentioned before, there are many that still think that those suffering with mental health problems (anxiety, depression, etc.) are crazy, or that they just need to get over it, but my goal is to advocate for mental health and I want to be able to provide you with tools that will make you think. If you have NEVER found yourself depressed, or anxious, or mentally stressed I want to try for a quick second to think of the worst thing that can happen to you. Maybe it is losing your keys, and being late to work, and then losing your job, and as a result losing your homes primary income. Or maybe it is writing the best post you have ever written only to have your computer crash before you had a chance to save it or publish it. Are you a little upset thinking about it? Now I want you to just get over it!!! Stop being dramatic, stop feeling, stop thinking about it… Just stop! Can you? It is not easy to tell someone to change their journey or their state of mind by simply assuming that what they are feeling is not valid. Please do not ignore the pleads of others and help them find the help. Remember: DISTRACTING THEM FROM THEIR PROBLEMS HOPING “THEY GET OVER IT,” ONLY PUTS A BANDAID ON THE PROBLEM.
I truly hope you are all doing well and that your mind is healthy and strong. Do not be afraid to reach out or find the support you deserve. Here are some numbers and resources to help you or others.
California Youth Crisis Line: 1-800-843-5200
Text HOME to 741741
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Linea Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
*You can also Google or search for online counseling or help. Please make sure they are board certified and that they are trained professionals.
Folkemer, D. (2007). PAYING FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES–FACTS AND FIGURES. State Legislatures, 33(4), 15.