Often times we look at mental health with the stigma of the title being negative. Thinking of people who are in mental institutions, or someone suffering from a severe Mental Disorder such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders, or bipolar disorder. Although these are disorders that fall under mental health, there is more to mental health than just the extreme. Mental health is a person’s mental condition with regard to their emotion well-being and psychological well-being.
If a person deals with anxiety, having down days, being emotionally upset, or grieving the loss of something or someone, all fall under the title of mental health. It’s important that we understand as a whole that Mental Health is just as important as your Physical Health. For example, if you are dealing with a cold, chronic headaches, a sprain, or a broken bone, you will seek the guidance and consult of a Physician or Doctor. The same precautions and steps taken for your physical health needs to be taken for your mental health. So here, I’ve listed some tips for you to help you understand Mental Health and maybe break down some stigmas that you may have when seeking out help if you ever may need it.
1. Sometimes, we need more than just “friendly” or “family” advice
If you are going through a tough time in your life (death, grief, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, break-up) and you do not have the personal tools to help you get through, it is important that you either, a) seek out a counselor in your area, or b) talk to a person with understanding and compassion. Sometimes, our best friend, parent, spouse, are not the ideal “go-to” people for guidance in how to deal with life “stressors.” They may give us advice that is misleading; they may also invalidate our feelings, making us feel worse about our current situation than before. When we are dealing with situations that are in need of a person with understanding, compassion, and an unbiased opinion, it’s time to seek out a counselor or a trusted pastor within the community.
2. Everything about you matters
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS IMPORTANT. If you wake up with days that feel off, are constantly in a depressive state of mind, or negative mind state, looking for help outside of your immediate circle is important. When seeking guidance and help from a counselor, you are not just confiding in a “stranger,” you are confiding in someone who truly cares about your well-being and your mental state of mind. A counseling session is nothing like a doctors visit. The counselor that you choose is someone who is going to treat you as an individual, care about your feelings, your words, and a way to help you overcome what you are dealing with. Us counselors take our passion seriously, and when you walk into the office of a counselor, be prepared to be treated like you are the most important person, because you are, and what you are going through matters.
3. “I am telling a stranger my personal issues, that’s not cool”
A counselor is more than just a “stranger.” They are someone who spent a great deal of time and years in a profession that strictly focuses on a personals emotional and psychological state on a daily basis. A counselor of your own choice isn’t going to “gossip” about what you say in a counseling session. It is our job, our duty, to make sure that you are safe; that what you say to us is strictly between the counselor and you. What you may say to a friend or family member may be biased depending on your situation. With a counselor, you are getting an opinion from someone who strictly wants to help YOU through the situation that you are currently in. There is no biased opinion
4. What good mental health can do for you?
If you are a person who struggles with positive mental health, this is for you.
Positive mental health allows you to realize your full potential in life, cope with the stresses that life may bring, work productively in all environments, and make meaningful contributions to not only your community, but your family, and personal life. There are ways to maintain positive mental health which include getting professional help if you need it, connecting with positive and compassionate people, researching ways to up productivity and positivity in your life, getting physically active, helping other, getting enough sleep, and developing coping skills. Your mental health isn’t something that you just brush off if it’s impacting your life negatively, there are ways that you can make a change and get your mental health on the right track!
5. It may be a genetic thing
Over the course of your life, sometimes you may experience health issues, or even mental health problems. If you have experienced stress, depression, or any other mental health problem your thinking, your mood, and your behavior that could be affected. Some factors that contribute to mental health problems include biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry, life experiences such as trauma or abuse, and family history of mental health problems. It’s important that you talk with your parents or family members to see if there is a genetic factor to your mental health problems. For example if there’s a history of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, alcoholism, those are all things that you should seek out help for.
Your mental health isn’t something to take lightly, and there is ALWAYS someone who cares to help you. As counselors, we genuinely care about the people we help.
I hope this article finds you well and if you are ever in need or searching, please do not hesitate to get the help you need and deserve. Your LIFE matters.