Ending the stigma associated with mental illness is the best way to ensure that people who need help are empowered to go and get it. We’ve come a long way in recent years, thanks in part to mental health awareness campaigns like Bell Let’s Talk Day in Canada, the LAD Bible UOKM8 campaign to raise awareness of male mental health issues in the United Kingdom, and Mental Illness Awareness Week in the United States.
But despite the growing awareness that struggling with a mental health condition and seeking help for it is nothing to be ashamed of—because it’s simply a health matter, like going to the doctor when you have the flu—unfortunately many people are still reluctant to get the professional help they need.
Then there are others who may acknowledge that they are struggling, but wonder if they really need to see a therapist or if they can just “snap out of it” on their own. The best way to get the answer to that question is to speak with your doctor who can help you assess your mental health needs and talk about solutions, including the possibility of referring you to a qualified professional.
But remember: if you have a headache you do whatever is necessary to make yourself feel better without giving it a second thought. Don’t you owe it to yourself to treat yourself with the same respect and compassion when you’re struggling with a mental health issue too—even if you think it’s minor?
If you’re wondering if you might benefit from therapy, the odds are probably good that you would or you wouldn’t be thinking about it at all. But PsychCentral has a quick online quiz to help you determine if perhaps a few sessions with a therapist might benefit you. It isn’t meant to be a diagnostic tool, but it can give you a starting point when you speak with your doctor about how you’ve been feeling.
Getting comfortable with the idea of therapy is also a good idea. Talk to willing friends who have been in, or are currently going to, therapy to find out what the process is like. You may be uncomfortable with the idea of telling a stranger your deepest, most personal thoughts, but a “been-there-done-that” friend will probably reassure you that, in fact, that’s one of the most freeing and healing parts of therapy. Being able to share your fears with a non-judgmental third party who isn’t going to be shocked by anything you tell them, and who will give you tools to help you cope with the way you’ve been feeling, is what therapy is all about.
Psychology Today has tips for how to find the best therapist for you, including what you should look for, questions you should ask, and what to do if you’re concerned about fees. Remember, the person you choose has to be a good fit for you, and there’s no harm in meeting and trying out a few until you find the right one. In fact, a good therapist will tell you that.
Take good care of yourself. Body and mind.
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