The stigma of mental health issues often prevents individuals from seeking care and support. Mental Health Awareness Month is a time to highlight the importance of improving and maintaining our mental health and to work towards ending the stigma of receiving mental health treatment.
Mental Health Concerns might be expressed as excessive fear or worry, feeling so down you don’t want to get out of bed, or even thoughts of killing yourself. However, not all mental health concerns are easy to notice. Symptoms of mental illness can also look like:
• feeling easily agitated
• withdrawing from friends & family
• feeling “numb”
• trouble concentrating
• change in hunger levels
REACH OUT TO SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP
Just as with our physical health, our mental health can be improved with appropriate treatment by a trained professional. There are several ways to find a qualified professional to help with your mental health concerns, here are a few ideas:
- ask your family doctor
- an internet search for “counselors near me”
- an internet search for a specific mental health concern
- ask someone you trust who they recommend
- contact local helping agencies
A major source of support for individuals and their families experiencing concerns with mental health is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). You can use the NAMI website www.nami.org to locate the NAMI office closest to you.
Sometimes, counseling services are provided free of charge; however, most counseling is not free. If you are concerned about the cost of counseling, contact your health insurance company to ask about coverage for mental health services. Most insurance plans have mental health coverage to alleviate some of the cost for members.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, searching for a qualified professional may not be the best option for you or a loved one. In a crisis situation, seek immediate assistance by doing one or more of the following:
• contact your local crisis team
• call the suicide prevention helpline 1.800.273.8255
• text “GO” the suicide prevention helpline number: 741741
• call 911
• go to the ER
Robin S Archer Phd
is the founder of Mindful Paths Network, a group supporting counselors in private practice to provide counseling services for children, adolescents, adults, groups, couples, and families experiencing a wide variety of behavioral and mental health concerns. Mindful Paths Network's newsletter addresses a variety of mental health concerns. This blog is an extension of the newsletter which is not currently available by email request.