Many people will not seek mental health treatment due to the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Seeking help is the first step to recovery and regaining a sense of control of your life. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re unsure where to turn, below is information you need to know about seeking the mental health treatment that is right for you.
When to Seek Mental Health Treatment
Recognizing symptoms and knowing when to seek mental health treatment can be difficult. But if you think you may be experiencing a mental health issue, it’s recommended to seek advice from a professional and it’s always best to ask for help as soon as possible.
You should seek mental health treatment if:
- You feel out of control of your emotions
- You experience trauma or have unresolved trauma in your past
- You’re using substances that are negatively impacting your life
- You no longer feel pleasure from your favorite pastimes
- You have low or no energy
- You are confused and unsure of the right direction for your life
- You feel hopeless about life
- You have suicidal thoughts
Richard Pelfrey, Director of Program Development and Implementation for Integrative Life Network, says people often seek mental health treatment when they feel disconnected. He explains:
“Disconnection could take many different forms or outward appearances, including isolation, decreased inability or willingness to complete self-care activities, numbing or escaping through external substances and processes, and loss of interest or ability to fulfill responsibilities. It’s a disconnection not just from life obligations, but from ourselves, other people, and the natural world around us.”
Mental health treatment can help people re-establish their connections to themselves and others, Pelfrey said.
Benefits of Seeking Mental Health Treatment
Looking after your mental health is important. Living with a mental health disorder can harm your quality of life, social relationships, and even physical health. But seeking mental health treatment can make things much more manageable.
Benefits of mental health treatment include:
- Improved quality of life
- Healthier relationships
- Improved performance at school and work
- Reduced chance of developing co-occurring disorders
- Reduced risk of physical health issues
- Encouragement and support
Types of Mental Health Treatment
Another barrier to seeking mental health treatment for many is not knowing what treatments are available. There are various treatments for mental health disorders. And no particular treatment works best for everyone.
The recommended treatment will depend on your mental health diagnosis. For example, depression treatment is different from anxiety treatment. It also depends on the severity of your disorder and your individual needs. It’s up to you and your care professionals to figure out the best treatment plan for you.
Types of mental health treatment available include:
- Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is one of the most common treatments for mental health disorders. Therapeutic treatments let you explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by talking to a professional. These therapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
- Prescription Medication. Medicine is not a cure for mental health disorders, but it can help with the management of symptoms.
- Support Groups. Talking to others who are going through a similar experience can provide support, friendship, and information. Support groups help counter the stigma and address the feelings of isolation that mental illness can bring.
- Experiential Therapy. Counselors use experiential therapies in addition to your standard treatment plan. These can include physical activities such as yoga and exercise and creative outlets including music, art, and writing.
- TMS Therapy. Trancranial Magnetic Stimulation is a non-pharmalogical approach to treating Major Depressive Disorder.
- Hospitalization. Hospitalization occurs in a minority of cases. Hospitalization only happens if you are in danger of harming yourself or others. It allows doctors to monitor you closely.
- Self Help Plan. You can implement some wellness strategies yourself at home. These strategies involve identifying your self-care needs and changing habits accordingly.
How to Encourage Someone to Seek Treatment
People often are reluctant to seek mental health treatment because of fear driven by stigma, Pelfrey said. He states that they want to “just be normal,” and many people think having a problem that requires a respite from daily life indicates abnormality, weakness, or brokenness.
“The thought of making one’s problems official brings the prospect of the debilitating shame associated with needing help in our culture,” Pelfrey said.
If you are worried about a loved one, you can take the first step and talk to them.
To help someone in this situation:
- Try to reduce the stigma.
- Let them know you hear them
- Allow them to share as much or as little as they want
- Listen without making judgments.
- Don’t diagnose or make assumptions.
- Validate their feelings
- Suggest seeking professional help
- Offer help-seeking support and treatment.
When encouraging a loved one to seek mental health treatment, try to use invitational language rather than forceful. Say, “I love you, and I think you would benefit from seeking help” rather than “You need help, accept it or else…”
Similarly, accepting a person’s refusal rather than resisting it through argument or force leaves the invitation open. This way, your loved one may be more willing to accept help when they start to feel as though they need it.
“It’s OK and sometimes necessary for loved ones to acknowledge their own woundedness incurred through the desperation of watching a person suffer with mental health issues,” Pelfrey notes.
If a loved one has a mental health disorder, it’s OK to seek help of your own too. Information, advice, and support are available for everyone.
In the end, remember that it’s up to an individual whether they choose to seek mental health treatment. You can’t force them. But you can offer encouragement and support.
Treatment at Integrative Life Center
At ILC, the first step in mental health treatment is helping our patients acknowledge that they have been wounded at no fault of their own.
“Many times, we’re able to soothe the stigma-driven shame of a person at the beginning of their healing journey through compassion and empathy,” Pelfrey said.There is no shame in seeking help. If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health concerns, contact Integrative Life Center to find out what treatment options are best for you.