Updated: Nov 28, 2022
We covered this topic in an episode of our Podcast, Talk Therapy To Me. If you prefer to listen rather than read, you can do that here:
Mental Health Awareness may sound like an open-ended topic, but I think that’s the beauty of it. There are so many directions you can go in and explore. So. Many.
People face the reality of living with mental illness on a daily basis. It’s important to talk about these things because it helps raise awareness. This awareness allows us to fight stigmas, provide support, educate the public, and advocate for policies and resources that support people with mental illness along with their families.
Overall, good Mental Health describes someone with effective functioning in daily activities. This functioning looks like:
Productive activities (work, school, caregiving)
Healthy relationships and boundaries
The ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior (or even a combination of these). They are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work, or family activities. For example, you can identify with having high functioning anxiety or depression, and that can present differently than others who have anxiety and depression.
Many people who have a mental illness do not want to talk about it. But mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of - and the good news is that they are treatable. We are continually expanding our understanding of how the human brain works, and treatments are available to help people successfully manage mental health conditions.
Remember it’s all about functioning. Someone who just lost a loved one within the past week, for example, may be functioning in a different capacity than someone who has grieved the loss of a person for a decade. Even with anxiety and depression - things can look different based on genetics and environment.
Think about it like this - maybe we all start our day with a certain battery life, representing our energy. Certain things require different levels of energy depending on what they are. For example, someone with more severe depression may use 50% of their battery life to take a shower, whereas someone who does not struggle with depression may not drain any battery life at all for a shower.
If you feel like you’re not able to meet your daily needs, or you're running on empty all day every day, it may be beneficial for you to seek help. It is not always clear what could be the cause or the root of an issue. With that said, I would strongly encourage you to seek out medical insight. Be aware that some mental illnesses can be related to or mimic a medical condition. For example, thyroid conditions can cause depressive symptoms in some people. A mental health professional will typically encourage a full evaluation from your doctor to address any possible underlying conditions.
What about treatment?
The diagnosis of a mental disorder or illness does not necessarily indicate a need for treatment. A need for treatment takes into consideration:
How severe the symptoms are
How much they cause distress and affect daily living and functioning
The risks and benefits of available treatments
And other factors (for example, psychiatric symptoms complicating other illness)
Some treatments for trauma, for example, traditional talk therapy, may not be as helpful for some people as EMDR. It can be painful to walk through trauma and describe it in detail, so another type of therapy may work better for you. Therapy is not a “one size fits all” vibe.
Mental health treatment is based upon an individualized plan developed collaboratively with a mental health clinician and an individual (and family members if the individual desires). Treatment may include psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, or other treatments. Often a combination of therapy and medication is most effective.
With that said, there are different tools that therapists can give you in order to improve your daily functioning and overall health. It’s very important to keep an open mind and communicate with your therapist if something doesn’t work for you because THIS. IS. FOR. YOU. I can’t emphasize that enough.
I love to see people grow and feel encouraged and empowered to keep growing. Remember that you have every capability to heal in your own individual journey. We’re here to offer insight and guidance, and be your cheering squad.
To begin receiving professional support, you may contact Mindsight Behavioral Group to schedule with one of our caring counselors with immediate openings. There IS hope and healing in mental health treatment.
Caitlin Bloom, LPCA
Caitlin is a Behavioral Health Clinician who enjoys reading, writing, as well as spending time with her husband and cat, Coffeebean, when she’s not counseling others. Caitlin likes helping clients guide themselves into deeper meaning, purpose, and connection for their lives. She focuses on finding resources, techniques, and coping skills on their journey for further fulfillment.
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