Your health matters and that includes your mental health. For generations, humans have focused more on understanding our physical health rather than our mental health. That’s likely why, to this day, many of us find it easier and simpler to head to a primary care physician for a physical check-up rather than sit down with a therapist for a mental health check-up. Stigmas still hold too many Americans back from the mental healthcare they need, and many more Americans are kept away by unawareness of their options.
It shouldn’t be this way. If you want to better care for your body and mind, you need to identify your mental health needs and seek out the psychotherapy solutions that address them. Here’s what you need to know about finding your mental health solutions.
Mental health is real and mental health matters
Your brain is a part of your body, so it should come as no surprise to learn that mental health concerns can have physical consequences. Mental health and physical health are connected in all sorts of ways: a better diet can improve your mental health, for instance, and better mental health can make it easier for you to stick to your exercise regimen. Poor mental health can even shorten your life because serious mental illnesses can be worse for you than a heavy smoking habit.
In other words, mental health isn’t some mumbo-jumbo — it’s a real thing with tangible consequences. It is every bit as real as our physical health, and it is related to our physical health, too. We ignore our mental health to our own detriment. When we read that huge percentages of Americans suffer from anxiety and depression, we should take that issue as seriously as we take reports of American obesity or drug abuse.
Assessing your own mental health
It never hurts to be proactive about your mental healthcare. But you want to be especially aggressive about seeking mental health treatment if you’re suffering from more serious mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
So how can you tell? You should review the symptoms of depression and the symptoms of anxiety and compare them to your own experience. It could also be a good idea to take an online mental health evaluation from a reputable source. These sorts of self-evaluations are absolutely not a substitute for meeting with a mental health professional, of course. But they can help give you some sense of what’s happening in your life and of what sort of care you might need.
Finding a therapy solution
Whether you have a serious mental health issue or simply want to take charge of your stress and well-being, you should consider therapy. Working with a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist can give you insights into your mental health, strategies for understanding, accepting, and managing your emotions and thoughts, and a safe refuge for your feelings and frustrations when you need one.
“Great,” you might say, “but how do I find therapy near me?” Good news: it’s not too tough. Start by speaking with your primary care physician about a referral, or turn to your health insurance provider to consider options within your network. You can also ask friends for recommendations or read online reviews to learn more. And your first visit with your new therapist is your opportunity to ask them about their views on various treatment options.
Mental health is serious and important to all areas of functioning. So take the time to identify your mental health concerns and target the right mental health solutions.