MENTAL HEALTH …
I recently had conversations with a few friends about mental health where I realized the lack of education and information that people have on mental health disorders and treatment. These conversations inspired this blog entry.
It’s hard to believe that mental health still has a negative stigma, especially among the minority population. In my culture and community, we are encouraged to utilize our own methods to deal with some of our stress, life transitions, and trauma without fully being aware of the actual effects it has on our brain and it’s development or lack thereof. We internalize, self-sabotage, and utilize our own self-medication processes to treat ourselves such as drugs, alcohol, poor nutrition, sugar, and other toxins which may not be conducive to our well-being and may, in fact, be contributing to our mental health issues. We are afraid of using alternative medicine options such as pure grade essential oils, yoga, proper nutrition, exercise, mindfulness meditation, reiki healing, massage therapy, and deep breathing techniques to assist with our daily life stressors when research shows these methods have been utilized for centuries to promote and increase our overall health and well-being especially in the mind!
*The above are not recommendations or suggestions for mental health treatment, please consult with a physician or your mental health professional.*
Why is mental health still so taboo?
Why are people so afraid to get their brain/minds checked?
Why do people believe, “talking to a stranger about my problems won’t help me.”
STOP, STOP, STOP!!
Therapy isn’t just TALKING! Mental health professionals do not spend tons of money and time in school to learn how to “talk” to people. We learn about the brain, the body, various mental health disorders, diagnosis, different therapeutic treatments, modalities, interventions, and even medicine the same way a physician or doctor learns about the body, disorders, medicine, diagnosis, and treatment.
Treat mental health the way you would physical health. If you broke your leg would you leave it untreated? & even if you did and it “healed itself” it wouldn’t properly heal, you would forever have long-term effects as a result of it being untreated. Same thing goes for untreated mental health. The longer you prolong treatment the more detrimental your effects, which may require a more severe form of treatment including inpatient intervention and medication or worse-be too late to treat. Would you get physical therapy for your leg if it were broken? Yeah! So why not get therapy for your mind! Take care of your mind -it’s the core being of your existence aside from your spiritual being!
Psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed professionals such as counselors and social workers all have various techniques, therapeutic modalities, and approaches to treating mental health.Do your research on the type of treatment you may need and find a clinician who primarily services that area AND your population. If you’re already aware of a possible diagnosis then look into a therapist who specializes in that area.
Choosing a clinician:
When you don’t like a doctor or a physician’s approach what do you do? You find another one right? …. If you don’t like their interpersonal skills, opinion, or bedside manners you would consider a different physician.. correct? Use this SAMEEE approach for mental health! I have been in therapy (and not ashamed of it) where I did not like a therapist or the approach because I knew what modality or treatment was best for me and I did not approve of their approach… and guess what, I switched, found a new therapist, got the treatment I needed, and am now well and coping.
Here are some common therapeutic interventions, treatment, and approaches:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-CBT
- Trauma Focused-CBT
- Group Therapy
- Individual Therapy
- Couples Therapy
- Family-Focus Therapy-FFT
- Art Therapy
- Play Therapy
- Drama Therapy
- Dance Movement Therapy
- Addictions Counseling
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- The Maudsley Method
- The Sanctuary Model
- Solution-Focused Therapy & Counseling
- Motivational Interviewing
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Crisis Intervention
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing-EMDR
- PsychoEducation (what I’m doing right now via this blog)
*These above are just a few therapies off the top of head; these are not recommendations or suggestions for mental health treatments-please do your research or consult with a physician and your mental health professional*
Each of the above interventions has their own methods of providing therapy for specific diagnosis and mental health disorders.
Stop making mental health so taboo!!! You go to the dentist for your teeth, an optometrist for you eyes, GI doctors, primary care physicians and more-all for your body-so do the same for your mind! Your mind is just as important as your body. Treat it right!!
Get a “check up from the neck up”.
To those of you who suffer in silence: you are not alone and there is help. You are not your illness and your illness is not adjective. It’s not something you can just “get over”. Continue on your path towards healing, get treatment, and there’s no need to be ashamed or embarrassed. You can get through this. Embrace your journey and share your story. You never know who you may inspire.
To my fellow mental health professionals, don’t doubt your abilities to help others but also remember to help yourself! Don’t be ashamed of seeking your own mental health support and treatment even if it’s just to cope and learn new strategies for yourself.
How to find resources:
Contact your insurance provider regarding behavioral health and mental health coverage in your area.
Take a look at my resource page (click the tab above) for resources on mental health.
If you would like to be added to my mental health resources section please contact me or comment below.
Hope this helps! Together we can help break the mental health stigma.
Remember: “Change begins in your mind.” Let’s get our minds right.
Iris L. Mendez, MSW