May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Many people are suffering of a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, OCD, schizophrenia, post partum depression, and more. The big problem is people are not seeking the help that is available to them. One can argue that mental health treatment is expensive, many people don’t have insurance, or there is a lack of services in the community and so on. But the biggest reason is the stigma. You probably heard these statements before:
- Counseling??? I’m not crazy, there is nothing wrong with me.
- Mental illness is not acknowledge in my culture/religion.
- What would my friends & family think if they found out I’m receiving counseling?
Counseling does not mean your crazy. In fact, you are taking control of your mental wellness when you do seek counseling. Some people may need medication to help ease the symptoms of depression or anxiety and that is ok. If that is what it takes for your to work at your job, attend school, socialize with your friends then go for it. Failure to obtain help can lead to serious consequences such as disability or suicide. Besides, if you have a migraine headache, are you going to ignore it or seek your doctor for a prescription of Imitrex?
To deal with stigma is educating yourself and embrace your support network. National Alliance of Mental Illness is a great resource for individuals, friends, and family. Many professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, and clergy are suggesting people to seek counseling.
There is nothing wrong in seeking mental health assistance. It does not make you less of a person but it will make you live a healthy life.