The stigma around mental health, as well as different kinds of treatments, has come a long way in the past few decades. It’s great that there’s so much information out there – videos, articles, studies – but it can make it hard to know what to believe and implement into your own life. With so much misinformation out there, it’s important to stay up to date with information to ensure you don’t cause yourself any unnecessary stress or harm. It’s hard to recognise sometimes that you need some extra help and more difficult still to actually seek it, so it’s great you’ve even made it this far.
Speaking to a Professional
One of the first steps on your journey should be speaking with a mental health expert. They will be able to guide you and suggest the next steps which are right for you. Everybody’s different and is experiencing different things, so it’s important to get tailored advice and information.
It is important to find a professional who is right for you, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t click with the first therapist you talk to. Finding a connection with someone is crucial in being able to trust them with your thoughts and feelings, which ultimately will enable them to help you more effectively.
Speaking to someone such as your family doctor or school counsellor about what you are feeling could be the first place to start. They may not be a specialist, but they will be trained in which direction to point you next, such as a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, Often, these professionals can be experts in an even more niche area of mental health – such as someone who can specifically help with phobias, or another person who can help with addiction – so it might take a couple of different professionals to find the right one for you.
RehabiIitation services are often associated with addiction, but this is not always the case. Rehab can be a way for struggling individuals to reset their beliefs, behaviours and attitudes to cultivate a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.
In the case of addiction, there are 2 common forms of rehab. There’s partial hospitalization rehab (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP). So, PHP vs IOP: What’s the Difference?, you might be thinking. It’s about picking a treatment that is right for you and your circumstances. PHP requires more sessions a week for a longer period of time than IOP so may not be suitable for a busy parent, for example. It’s always important to fully understand what different types of treatments involve and any potential side effects there may be.
Although it’s often important to carry out a full course of treatment, e.g. following through with all your rehab sessions, you should never feel backed into one option. Trust your gut instincts and speak to different people if you feel something is wrong. Remember that communication is one of the most important things because things can change and if you don’t tell anybody about it then they can’t provide the most up-to-date information that might be best for you.
Speaking to Friends and Family
Prioritising yourself can be important but you also need to speak to people in your life because there can be effects on your family too. Although they can’t medically advise you, they can be there to listen and support you. They might be able to help you research different treatments as well – two sets of eyes are often better than one. For example, you may find that they know more about how different treatment options may fit into your life more than a professional does.
To avoid reading false information, use credible sources, such as government websites, to carry out any at-home research. These kinds of websites will have a comprehensive database of information written by people who know what they’re talking about. They’ll have a range of resources you can explore with actionable advice, so you can avoid clicking around on the internet for hours without actually getting anywhere.
It’s important to not self-diagnose at this point though. Browsing the internet can help you get a rough idea of the subject you’re looking into. Instead, it can help you get familiar with different terminology which might otherwise overwhelm you when speaking to a professional.
Make sure that you verify any information with at least one other source, preferably more. Any research you do online, in books, and when speaking to professionals should be cross-checked. You need to look for any information that might have been omitted from the original source, such as any unmentioned potential side-effects or things like treatment waiting times. It’s so easy for someone to miss off a piece of information that they don’t deem important, but might be a crucial in your personal decision-making.
Keep a Journal
To understand what treatment might best suit you and your needs, you need to understand yourself and what you are struggling with. Writing things down could be useful to a medical professional because they can identify symptoms and triggers to ultimately help you work through problems in your life.
Daily journaling has been proven to help improve mental health in itself as well. It provides a place to organise your thoughts and feelings, in addition to providing a space for positive self-talk. Some people like to write down what they’re grateful for, while others prefer draw things. The thing about journaling is that it’s your private place and you don’t have to show anyone if you don’t want to.
So to sum up, there are many different resources to help you find the right treatment for your individual needs. Meeting with a mental health specialist is a crucial step in becoming properly informed with the latest information. Whilst you can do a lot of research on your own, professional medical experts are the ones that will provide personalised advice to help you in the right direction.