May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Taking care of your mental health is important to your overall wellbeing – it’s just as important as your physical health. Yet sometimes, when you are not feeling well mentally, it can be difficult to reach out for help. When you are hurting mentally, you may be tired, depressed, or anxious, and all of these reasons can contribute to the struggle to get help.
It is important to know that there is help out there and taking that first step can make a huge difference in how you feel. Just knowing that someone cares or that things can get better can change your whole outlook.
Typically, people think of getting help as talk therapy or seeing a psychiatrist. While those are two popular traditional options that can have a huge impact on a person’s mental health, there are other options available to you as well. There are numerous ways to stay mentally healthy, with diverse treatment options that fit different personalities and lifestyles. If you or someone you know needs help, recognize and acknowledge that, and reach out for whatever type of support is right for you or your loved one. Everyone deserves to be and feel their best, and it is ok and normal to seek guidance in finding what works for you to thrive.
There is so much help out there. Here is information on several different types of support you may find useful.
Traditional psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is an umbrella term for traditional talk-based mental health treatment. Typically, a person often sees a psychiatrist or a psychologist. While both have a “doctor” title, there are many differences between the two types of professionals. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has undergone medical training. Psychiatrists specialize in diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental health disorders. Many psychiatrists focus on diagnosis and medication management. Alternatively, a psychologist cannot prescribe medication, but they often treat patients through psychotherapy, counseling, and also perform psychological testing. Many individuals find that seeing both a psychiatrist and a psychologist or other type of mental health provider such as a social worker, counselor, or therapist is helpful. It is important that each individual find a provider with whom they are comfortable.
Specialized therapies: Some people find that traditional psychotherapy is not the right fit for them, or that they need a different approach. You can learn about the different types of treatments in our Knowledge Center. Some options include specialized therapies like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or something like equine therapy or pet therapy, which are shown to lower stress levels.
Group therapy: While some people are private, others find comfort when surrounded with people dealing with the same issues that they are. Group therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which you and other people, usually ones who share your diagnosis, meet with a mental health provider at the same time to discuss issues and coping strategies for managing your condition. Many people find group therapy to be very effective, as they learn not just from their own behaviors, influences, and choices, but the behaviors, influences, and choices of others as well. Group therapy can also be helpful for people who live with or care for someone with a mental health condition to find much-needed support and develop new coping skills.
Creative Therapies: Many people find that they feel better through the use of creative expression rather than just talking to a therapist or other service provider. Art therapy and dance/movement therapy are examples of ways to take care of yourself using your creativity to express explore one’s feelings, thoughts, concerns, and problems.
Mindfulness: If therapy is not right for you, you can improve your mental health with lifestyle changes such as practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness has evolved to the practice of learning to be present, not worrying about what is around you, or becoming too overwhelmed by what is happening. While mindfulness is often associated with meditation, one does not have to meditate to be mindful. Mindfulness just requires focusing on what you are doing and paying attention to the present moment and the sensations you are feeling. Mindfulness is also at the core of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT); learn more about mindfulness in DBT here. Mindful practices have been shown to help reduce levels of stress and pain, improve focus, and benefit both physical and mental health.
Telemedicine: For individuals who need support but may be limited by distance, cost, disability or transportation, telepsychiatry may be an option. Telepsychiatry is the use of video-conferencing technology to connect individuals with psychiatrists and other mental health providers for the purpose of evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment. Individuals can receive the services of a doctor or other provider just as they would at an in-person visit.
The first step in taking care of your mental health is knowing that it is important and that you deserve to feel your best. It is up to you to take steps to help make that happen. Use our Care Finder to find the right Sheppard Pratt program for you.
Find all of the Sheppard Pratt treatment options available by using our Care Finder. Simply type in a keyword, enter your location, or use our filtering tools.