When we feel under the weather, we go to the doctor. When we have a toothache, we go to the dentist. If you have a headache, you will head to the pharmacy to get a tablet. But when we suspect we may have a problem with our mental health, the first reaction is often to deny that there is anything wrong at all and just wait for it to go away.
However, the sticking-your-head-in-the-sand approach will do nothing except make the issue worse than it already is. Everyone needs help from time to time and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that fact. When you suspect that you may have an issue with your mental health, you need to take the necessary steps to getting help.
Step 1 – Acknowledge That you Have a Problem
All too often, the stigma in relation to mental health can prevent a person from admitting that they may have a problem. Acknowledging your feelings and the realisation that you may have a problem is the first step to resolving them. By even reading this article, you have taken a huge step in addressing your mental health issues.
Step 2 – Talk to Somebody
This step is probably the hardest to take but one of the most essential. The most important thing you can do if you suspect you have a problem with your mental health is to talk. Though it can be the hardest thing to build up the courage to do, talking about your issues is a positive step. Talk to a family member or trusted friend. If you feel you can’t approach your family and friends, you may find it easier to talk with someone removed from the situation such as a professional counsellor or your local doctor. It can be very liberating.
Step 3 – Visit Your Doctor
Your doctor is a valuable resource in getting help with your mental health issues. Even if you have chosen not to talk to your door initially, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with them to discuss how you are feeling and to explore your options with regards to the avenues available to you. Your doctor may refer you to the services of counsellor or psychotherapist at an out-patient clinic or may provide advice with regards to medication, if necessary.
Step 4 – Consider Joining a Support Group
Support groups are often overseen by someone with some kind of mental health training. In some cases, a support group can be less intimidating because you can hang back and listen to other participants before having to actively participate. A support group can provide you with a safe and non-judgmental place to vent your fears and worries and receive comfort and encouragement from others who have or are experiencing similar problems.
Following these first steps will help you address the issues which are preventing you from living your life in the fullest, most productive way. Remember it’s never too late or too early to get help to get your mental health back on track.
Carlo Cretaro is a freelance blogger and social media consultant for a range of Irish and UK businesses including Aria Therapy. Aria Therapy is a counselling and psychotherapy clinic based in Dublin, Ireland.