Let’s face it. All of us need help now and then. The question is…will we ask for it? Have you ever struggled with a fix-it project in your apartment that’s beyond your skill level? Ever grind through a work project alone when an extra set of hands could have helped? Ever look at the kids’ activities for the upcoming week and wonder how you can be at two, or three, places at once? Life, especially lately, can feel overwhelming. But for some reason, many of us find it difficult to ask for help in our day-to-day life, even if that help is right around the corner, right next door, or right in front of us.
Unfortunately, many of us also hesitate to seek out help when it comes to our mental health. There are many reasons for this. Some of us think we can handle mental health challenges on our own. Some of us tell ourselves that the issue really isn’t that bad, even if all of the evidence says otherwise. Some of us are fearful of a mental health diagnosis. Some of us imagine feeling embarrassed if anyone found out we were getting therapy. Some are concerned about the financial cost or the time commitment involved in seeking treatment. Others simply don’t know where to turn for help or how to connect with a provider. Whatever the reason, if you or someone you love are struggling, reach out to a professional for help. Here’s some information to think about.
Lots of Us Experience Challenges
If you or someone you love are struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone. Mental health challenges are very common. In fact, chances are there are other people who are struggling right in your apartment building, workplace, or favorite restaurant. Consider these statistics about mental health in the United States from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- More than 50% will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year.
- 1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental illness.
- 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
When to Consider Therapy
There are many situations when you might want to seek help from a therapist or counselor. Some of them are related to life events that can affect your mental health, while others are due to specific mental health conditions. If any of the following apply to you, you may want to explore therapy or counseling:
- Do you have feelings of anxiety or depression?
- Are you struggling with feelings of grief after the loss of a loved one?
- Do you have fears or phobias that are impacting your day-to-day life?
- Have you been diagnosed with a mental health concern such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive compulsive disorder?
- Have you struggled to achieve a health-related goal such as quitting smoking or losing weight?
In addition to the general situations mentioned above, there are some red flags, signs, and symptoms that can indicate the need for professional mental health treatment related to stress, anxiety, and depression…common mental health concerns, especially considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- Worsening of pre-existing symptoms related to stress, anxiety, or depression.
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and mental fatigue.
- Negative thoughts, sense of impending doom, irritability, mood swings, or feeling very low or on edge all the time.
- Constant obsessive, intrusive, ruminating thoughts that cannot be controlled.
- Severe physical anxiety symptoms like heart palpitations, difficulty breathing or breathlessness, chest pain, headache, blurred vision, or tremors.
- Headaches, back aches, chest pain, or other vague psycho-somatic symptoms with no identifiable medical cause.
It’s also important to understand that untreated mental health symptoms can sometimes lead us to various forms of substance abuse such as alcohol, drugs, or excessive smoking to cope with symptoms, so please do not put off seeking help if you think you may need it.
Different Kinds of Therapy
There are many different types of therapy and therapists available to help you. Here are a few examples of what we offer at Your Local Psychiatrist NYC.
- Psychology is the study of how people think, act, react, and interact. Its main focus is based on aspects of behavior, mental health, and emotions. Psychologists are not MDs, but do specialize in clinical, counseling, forensic, or health psychology.
- Psychotherapy is guided to work with individuals, couples, groups, and families. Psychotherapists, although not MDs, can assist patients to reduce stress and improve emotional, personal, and relationship problems.
- Group Therapy may help you obtain an understanding and supportive environment, which individual therapy might not provide at times. In group therapy, you can learn from other participants about their challenges and approaches that have worked for them. At the same time, they’ll be learning from you.
- Couples Therapy helps to address strains that inevitably happen in many relationships. Gaining the insight of a therapist may provide a new and healthy solution to many problems a couple may have.
What to Expect in Therapy
When you first visit a therapist or counselor, she/he will likely ask you about your particular situation to learn about your desires, wishes, and goals. You’ll be asked to explain why you’re seeking help, what type of symptoms you are experiencing, and what treatment, if any, you may have had in the past. Your therapist may also use various screening tools or questionnaires to evaluate your current situation and family health history to develop the most effective treatment plan for you. While you may feel a bit hesitant to share information at first, try to be as open and thorough as possible with your therapist so that she/he has as much information as possible to help guide your treatment.
How to Choose a Therapist
Finding a therapist or counselor that’s right for you can take some time, but here are a few things to keep in mind when evaluating them:
- Is the person a good “fit” for you based on personality? You’re more likely to open up to and trust people that you like. The same is true of your prospective therapist or counselor.
- Does the person have experience in addressing needs like yours? Ask about a therapist’s educational degrees and specialized certifications, but be sure to also ask about how they’ve helped people with needs like yours in the past.
- Can she/he provide patient testimonials? Be sure to ask about patient testimonials and do some research of your own online to see what kind of reviews the provider has.
- Are they readily available? Convenience is key when it comes to getting the care you need. If you’d prefer to see a therapist or counselor in person, be sure to look for someone with a location and hours that fit your lifestyle. Alternately, due to social distancing requirements caused by COVID-19, many providers are now seeing patients using telehealth technology, which provides even more convenience, since you don’t have to travel or sit in a waiting room with other patients who may have colds, the flu, or COVID-19.
We’ll take a closer look at how to choose a therapist or counselor in an upcoming blog article. In the meantime, when you are choosing a new provider, be sure to do some research and choose someone who’s likely to be a good fit for you, rather than simply selecting at random from your insurance plan’s list of in-network providers.
How is Therapy Paid For?
Speaking of insurance plans, many people wonder how they’ll cover the cost of therapy. Many insurance plans and Medicaid managed care plans help cover the cost of mental health services. (We recently added the Fidelis Care Medicaid managed care plan to our list of accepted insurance plans.) Some plans may require preauthorization for behavioral health or mental health services, so be sure to check into your plan’s requirements and what your financial responsibility will be before you receive care.
We’re Here to Help
Mental health challenges are common and widespread, but it’s important to remember that help is available. If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, depression, OCD, ADHD, or other mental health challenges, consider therapy or counseling. We are able to provide care for children (ages five and up), tweens, teens, and adults via telehealth technology. You or your loved one can see and talk to a therapist or counselor just as though you were with them in our office. To request an appointment, click on the link at the right side of your screen. We look forward to meeting you!
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn About Mental Health. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm. Retrieved 5/9/20.
Your Local Psychiatrist does not provide crisis services and is not staffed to respond to people in crisis. If you or someone you love are in crisis, below are some resources that may be helpful.
- If you are in danger or are having a health- or mental health-related emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
- If you are experiencing a crisis, text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to reach a trained crisis counselor with the Crisis Text Line.
- If you or someone you love are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), En Español 1-888-628-9454, for support.