When Should I Speak to a Mental Health Professional?
Admitting you need help can be difficult, but it shouldn’t—here are just a few signs that you should consult a mental health professional. By Dr. Jaya Sukul
There are times in life when you need professional help—you need to talk to someone you can trust and feel secure with. Of course, a good friend can listen to you, but a professional has the skills and training to assist you to learn how to cope when you’re stressed and anxious, or facing another mental health issue. Below are just a few signs that one should consider speaking to a mental health professional:
- When you need assistance with stress management
Life is difficult by nature, and you probably won’t be able to eliminate all your stressors. In fact, small amounts of stress can be beneficial in motivating you or aiding in concentration. But, if you’re having difficulty regulating your stress, or it is getting out of control and impacting you negatively, you should seek help. Being stressed can cause a range of problems such as irritability and short temper, as well as inefficiency and frenetic behaviour. You may experience an overpowering sensation of helplessness and grief that lasts for a long time. A professional can help you in developing healthy stress management skills or in problem-solving so that you can tackle certain stressful parts of your life.
- When you’re having trouble understanding your feelings
Counselling has been found to help people with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. A psychologist can assist you identify your problems and determine the best course to deal with them, as well as change unhealthy behaviours and routines and find constructive ways to deal with situations that are beyond your control. To put it another way, a psychologist can help you enhance both your physical and emotional health.
- When life takes a toll on your mind and body
Death, divorce, job loss, and chronic diseases all cause a great deal of stress and suffering. Even daily worries that you believe you can handle might ultimately burden you, putting your life out of balance and impacting both your psychological and physical health, necessitating a professional consultation.
- Your physical health also deteriorates as your mental health deteriorates
Research has proven that your physical health is closely entwined with your mental health, cementing that mind-body connection. Therefore, your physical health may deteriorate if your mental health deteriorates. And if your physical health deteriorates, you may experience emotional distress. Pay attention to what your body is saying. For example, if you’re suffering from chronic tension headaches, your body may be signalling that you need assistance coping with whatever’s on your mind.
Some people seek counselling because they have been sad, nervous, or even angry for a long period. Others may require assistance due to a chronic condition that is causing mental or bodily distress. Others may be dealing with major life events and require assistance to cope. For example, they may be going through a divorce, feeling burdened by a new job, or grieving the death of a loved one. Sometimes, there is no specific reason for consulting with a mental health professional—you just need it, and that’s enough.
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