Lets talk about mental health
For this week’s blog, we thought it would be interesting to discuss the taboo surrounding mental health.
I believe that mental health is just as important as physical health, and I find it frustrating when I see government campaigns for walking and our 5 a day, which are important topics, however, I find myself consistently picking up the pieces of a poor NHS system for mental health.
Myself and many other counsellors are consistently meeting new clients who have been hurt through the NHS, may that be from misdiagnosis, ongoing waiting lists, or being handed a prescription instead of being listened too.
So let’s take a minute to clear up the taboo around seeking help for mental health. Mental health issues can either be biological, such as a chemical imbalance. This can often lead to schizophrenia or bipolar, and these can be managed through medication and counseling with a psychiatrist or psychologist. Mental health problems deriving from a chemical balance are 1 in 100 people. There are, however, 1 in 6 of the population enduring anxiety or depression. That means that more likely than not there is a high probability of someone in your workplace or social group with anxiety or depression. Anxiety and depression are merely the results of self-critical and black and white thinking patterns, with a tendency to avoid difficult situations. That is it. Just because you endure a panic attack during a work meeting, or feel depressed to the point where you want to withdraw from all around you, does not make you ‘crazy’, it just means that you need to highlight and change harmful thinking and behavioral attributes.
An analogy I often use with a client is if we could fix everything on our own, what would be the need for dentists, chiropractors, physiotherapists etc. We need them because they have a special skill that will enable you to reach a happier place. May that be a sore tooth fixed, a sore back fixed or aching muscles addressed. So what is the difference in seeking out help for a pain that isn’t physical? Is it so ludicrous to need help addresses internal brokenness rather than physical brokenness?
I challenge you this week to begin to break the taboo around mental health, particularly in Northern Ireland, because at the end of the day, what’s so bad about needing a little bit of help anyway?
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About Jessica Reynolds
Jessica Leigh is a qualified CBT psychotherapist. She is a member of the BABCP and BACP. She currently works in a private practice, specializing in solution-focused anxiety and depression counselling.