What are the steps for getting help with mental health?
You don’t have to navigate the path to wellness alone, either. While it can be daunting, scary, and uncomfortable to confront the fact that you may be dealing with a mental health issue, you can take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. No longer fearing that whatever you are going through will get in the way or that you will be hindered from reaching your goals because of your struggles. Even though it may not feel that way now, there is a way that you can feel better and resume your normal daily activities again.
The hardest part is reaching out and getting help. Here at TherapyTribe, we are committed to helping you by being as accessible as possible. We have many skilled and professional therapists from all over the world listed in our directory. In addition to individual therapy, we have support groups and information on many mental health issues accessible via our therapy topics pages.
Help for mental health issues comes in several forms. However, asking for help is the first step. If you have arrived here because you are ready to get help, then you have come to the right place. We know how hard it is to seek help, so we want to make the rest of the process as smooth as possible.
What Help Looks Like
While you may assume that help for a mental health issue depends on a client-therapist interaction, whereby you have weekly meetings with a therapist and discuss how you are feeling, this is only sometimes the case. Every person is different and unique, so it is essential to recognize that help looks different for each person – and that you should never be ashamed of seeking the help you need.
Individuals benefit most from regular one-on-one sessions with a therapist in some cases. In these sessions, the client often needs someone willing and available to listen to them while expressing empathy and compassion to help them through their distress. Situations such as these also often warrant the therapist’s interaction because frequently, it is helpful for the client to have the therapist there to shed new perspectives on the individuals’ circumstances, allowing them to see a different view of what they are experiencing and why it may be happening.
In other cases, clients benefit more from hands-on activities, such as mindfulness exercises or exposure therapy, where they can actively engage in their healing processes. Others do better in group therapy sessions, where they feel the benefit and healing that comes from knowing they are not alone and being able to share their struggle with someone who can relate.
Seeking out therapy is one of the best options for help that you can choose: you will receive support, professional guidance, and above all else, not have to face your issues alone.
Despite the understanding and awareness of how beneficial it can be to start therapy, there are often several things that may appear to be obstacles when getting the help you need:
- Cost of Therapy – Many assume therapy is not an option because it is too expensive. In many cases, however, your insurance covers therapy, and you can arrange with your insurance provider for a mental health component in your plan. In addition, many therapists offer a sliding scale and can accommodate the different needs of their clients.
- Time – Don’t let the lack of time or feeling like you don’t have any free time during the day stop you from contacting a therapist for help. Many therapists offer online services; they see clients in the evenings and weekends and, in some cases, are even available to come to your house and attend the appointment on time.
- Finding a Therapist – Our website has made finding a therapist easy and accessible. Search by location and symptoms to see a list of qualified therapists. Each therapist provides a short bio; you can view their experience, training, specializations, treatment approach, and practice details such as their address and cost. You can select your top 3 matches and reach out to them. Then you can determine who you best connect with and who is most capable of meeting your therapeutic needs.
- Stigma – Do not let shame or the stigma of mental health issues stop you from reaching out for help. There is no shame in asking for the help you need, the same as asking for help from a doctor or a co-worker. Instead of feeling embarrassed about seeking help, take responsibility for how you are feeling and what you need, and start down the path towards being your best self and living the life you know you want and deserve.
Developing a Support System
While seeking the help of a therapist is a critical step towards improving your mental health and overcoming life’s struggles, much of your success will come from developing your support system. When you reach out to a therapist, you should also reach out to a close friend, relative, or other people you trust to develop a support network outside of therapy to help you get through any struggles you may be facing.
Battling with any mental health issue means there may be some days when it is hard to get out of bed, look after your kids, show up at your job, and work to your total capacity. While a therapist will give you strategies and techniques to help you work through this, it will take some time for you to adopt them, and you will likely still have bad days. On these bad days, you need a support system made up of people you aren’t afraid to reach out to and say, “Today I need someone to come help me cook dinner,” or “Today, I am feeling particularly ashamed of my body.” Look for people you can reach out to outside of therapy sessions, people you can feel comfortable talking to about your struggles or daily obstacles, and people you are not ashamed to open up to and be honest with. A sound support system will nurture your soul, be empathetic toward your feelings, push you through the hard days and work to help you get over the hump.
In addition to seeing a therapist and establishing a support team to use as a resource for your healing, it is essential to understand what other resources are available to assist you on your journey to better health and a better life. As you seek to overcome your problems, consider using the following additional resources:
- Community Outreach – The increasing awareness around mental health issues means communities are stepping up to support individuals affected by mental illness in several cities. This may involve community-initiated support groups held at the community center or library, events surrounding mental health awareness, such as an open day or film screening, or fundraisers which benefit particular mental health-related charities. Many communities are pushing mental health education, having speakers and professionals in the field come to the community to present and educate on different types of mental illness and how one can best support affected individuals. Check out your local community news or event listings to see how you can use these valuable resources.
- Online Support Groups – With the accessibility of the Internet and social media, it is no surprise that online support groups are gaining popularity and credibility within the mental health realm. Online support groups are valuable for anyone affected by mental illness, but especially for those who may not have a support network within their family or friends or those unable to access therapy. Visit the tribe to find a online support group that may benefit you and your circumstances.
- Support Meetings – Think of these as online support groups in real life! These are group sessions where individuals experiencing the same mental health struggles or the same selection of symptoms come together to support one another. It may be to get together, share struggles and wins, and sometimes come together to share newfound coping mechanisms. Other times it is simply to have someone to listen to and to benefit from the shared experience and reliability of everyone going through the same thing.
- Workplace Services – Don’t forget to check with your employer to see what mental health services are available through your workplace. This information should be made available to you in your welcoming and hiring package and often includes access to resources and professionals or may even allow you to have financial coverage or compensation for seeking mental health services such as therapy.Books and Literature – Visit your local library or bookstore and ask for books, movies, or magazines pertinent to your struggles. It can often feel better to gain knowledge about what you are going through, allowing you to commit to actively improving your health and well-being.
Shifting your Mindset
Regardless of your work with your therapist, the community, and the family support available to you, it is essential to remember the power of positive thinking and the importance of shifting your mindset. You are valuable to your community, family, workplace, and society. You have unique skills, attributes, strengths, and traits, which you can offer to others. The world needs you and what you have to offer, even if you don’t believe it right now. In the throes of your struggles, it can be easy to forget these things or be led to think otherwise, and it is essential to step back and remind yourself that you are worthy. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful, walk down the street and remind yourself you are doing good things, show up at the store, and tell yourself you are deserving. Get the help you need from this mindset, and your improved health will follow.
Jeremy Divinity (2019). Never Be Ashamed Of Seeking Help. Retrieved on April 17, 2019 from: https://www.nami.org/Personal-Stories/Never-Be-Ashamed-of-Seeking-Help#
National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: progress and possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academic Press; 2009.
Titelman, P. (Ed.) (2008). Triangles: Bowen Family Systems Theory Perspectives. Haworth Clinical Practice Press, New York.